Happy New Year!

Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions. Every year in January, the gyms are packed.

If you’re like me and always at the gym, welcome the new members. Be friendly. Help them out if they ask for it. Don’t be annoyed, the gym needs them to stay open too.

If you’re one of the people who committed to a big change this year, you might be frustrated. Statistically, this is the time that people give up on their resolutions. By February 1st, the average person has moved on. Approximately 23 percent of people give up after just a week! Only 19 percent stick with their resolution long-term.

How can we change that? If you gave up, or if you’re thinking about giving up, I want to talk to you.

You are not a failure; you’re just going over some speed bumps right now. You are not a failure unless you completely give up. And I know you don’t want to give up. Change is hard. Your body wants to live this life you’ve been living. Your mind is used to the habits you had last year. January 1st wasn’t some magical day that erased all of your routines and your muscle memory. You’re fighting against all of that to conquer your resolution, whether it was to go to the gym, eat less sugar, stop smoking, stop drinking, meditate more, lose weight, read more books, or work on your relationship.

You made a resolution because you wanted to change something. You wanted to change something for a reason. So as you hit the wall and think about giving up, think back to the reason you wanted to change.

Think about why you might be struggling.

We often underestimate how hard change really is. An object in motion wants to stay in motion, and we face inertia in our lives, not just in physics. We’ve been doing things our way for a long time. It starts from the moment you wake up in the morning. We all have that moment where we think the bed feels fantastic, and why would we ever get up? There’s a great Marcus Aurelius quote about this that I love:

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.

Isn’t that fantastic? And he makes an important point. When you think about the change you want to make, you know it is hard so you need to motivate yourself the right way. Are you trying to use negative motivation? Are you telling yourself, “I want to do this because I hate how I am now?” Stop it. Negative motivation will run out fast because change takes time. If you’re trying to inspire yourself by saying “I hate my stomach,” I think you’re setting yourself up to fail. Your stomach is going to take time to change. Negative motivation runs out when you don’t see a quick win.

Instead, reframe how you think about your motivation for change. Look at what Aurelius said. Think about how you want to change because you love yourself. Now it is, “I want to lose weight because I love myself and I deserve to be healthier/look how I want.” If you are trying to change because you appreciate yourself, I think you’ll have plenty of long-term motivation.

Now, let’s think about how you are trying to create new habits. Are you doing too much? Did you go from never reading to trying to finish 100 pages a day? From never working out to an hour of squats?

The most lasting change happens incrementally. Do a little more today than you did yesterday, celebrate yourself, and then do a little more tomorrow and celebrate again. That’s how you stick to a resolution.

You have to trick your mind and your body. If you’re like me, you have at least two voices in your head. One is saying you can do it, and another one is telling you it isn’t worth it, just get back in bed. You have to trick the negative voice by loving yourself, breaking through the inertia, and making small wins.

No matter what you do, don’t give up. If you have already given up, just start again today. You didn’t fail. Remember why you are doing this; it’s because you want the best for yourself because that’s what you deserve. Write your goal down. Move slowly. And then every day, write down your small wins and celebrate. By the end of the year, you’ll be happy. Trust me.

You’ve heard me quote this poem by Samuel Beckett before, but:

“Ever tried. Ever failed.

No matter.

Try again. Fail Again.

Fail better.”

That’s how we all make our way through life. Take a step, fall down, get up, take a step, fall down, get up, and eventually you’ll have climbed a mountain. I’m rooting for you.

New Year Fun!

How was your new year celebration? My friends and family and I went up to Sun Valley, Idaho like we always do and did some great skiing. Patrick, Christopher, and I also did our best Yellowstone impression - because we can’t get enough of that show, the dogs got used to playing in the snow, and here is a video from skiing! They don’t call me a cybernetic organism for nothing.

The Zeus is Loose

You probably saw my new BMW iX electric commercial during the Super Bowl. Just in case, you can watch it here.

It was so fun to play Zeus, and working with Salma was an absolute dream. The director, Bryan Buckley, is the “King of the Super Bowl” and now I know why. Shooting a commercial like this is like shooting a full-fledged big-budget movie with a huge crew and trailers and lighting. Everyone has to work together to make the final product great.

I finally got to play Zeus, the father of Hercules, who it was always my dream to play growing up watching Reg Park, and I did play in my very first project in 1969 right after I moved to America, before I could speak good English. Like I told Jimmy Kimmel, that movie didn’t turn out the best and I threatened my kids that they would have to watch it when they didn’t do their chores. But, everything has come full circle now!

It was amazing to see so many of you vote for it as your favorite commercial and see it pop up on list after list of the top commercials.

Forbes piece on 2022's most effective Super Bowl ads! We were number one. Thanks to Salma, Bryan, BMW, the team at Goodby Silverstein, everyone who worked on the crew, and all of you who shared our commercial or pumped it up to your friends and family, because as you know, no success is self-made. It’s a team sport.

Check out my interview on Jimmy Kimmel from right before the Super Bowl!

Also, the great thing about Hollywood is that you always run into people you’ve worked with throughout the years. The woman who asked me to charge her hedge trimmer in the commercial reminded me that almost 40 years ago, we met during Terminator when she was the wrong Sarah Connor! You might remember that the Terminator shot her as soon as she opened the door. We got to talking and I learned her name is Marianne Muellerleile and she has been in over 230 movies and TV shows! I am so, so proud of her.

And, just because I love my newsletter subscribers so much, I thought I'd give you all the director’s cut which is very funny!

Arnold Sports Festival 2022

I am so pumped up because my annual Arnold Sports Festival is coming up in just a couple of weeks! I love that we have this huge platform to inspire people of all ages through fitness. When I retired from bodybuilding, I promised to give back everything I could to the sport that gave so much to me. I organized my first competition with Jim Lorimer in Columbus, Ohio in 1976. That was 46 years ago! It was the Mr. Olympia competition, and it was so successful we went on to host Mr. Universe and Mr. International and Mr. World and Ms. Olympia and the list goes on-and-on until 1989 when we started the Arnold Classic. Over the past 34 years, it grew from a bodybuilding competition into the biggest multi-sport festival in the world.

I want to inspire everyone who attends, competes, or watches live from home. Whether it’s strongman, bodybuilding, gymnastics, slap fighting, martial arts, axe throwing, archery, jump roping, weightlifting, the Scottish Highland Games, or pole dancing, I want all of our fans to find a sport they love and see in our sports that they can make something of themselves if they put their mind to it. I came from nothing but a dream, and I was inspired when I saw Mr. Universe, Reg Park, on the cover of a magazine, and so many of our star athletes started the same way. I have heard so many of the bodybuilders tell me they sat in the audience at our event decades ago and now they’re competing on our stage. I just love knowing that someone is sitting in that audience being inspired, and we have no idea what they will become. When you’re in my position, it’s not about about having millions of followers, it’s about creating millions of leaders and champions.

I may have shared this before, but here's an example of some of my heroes that attend the Arnold Classic. Miles, Derrick, and Garrett are all disabled in one way or another, but that doesn't stop them from crushing it in the gym and competing. Focus on the ability and not the disability.

My team at the Arnold Sports Festival is following some of our athletes in their training. You can watch the first episode here:

Save Solar!

Sometimes, politicians and bureaucrats like to fix things that aren’t broken. Here is an essay I wrote in the New York Times about our California Public Utilities Commission’s plan to take away a solar incentive while adding a solar tax.

I am proud that the Million Solar Roofs Initiative I started when I was Governor was a success, and I am furious that they are thinking of slowing down California’s progress. This all started with the utility companies saying that it is unfair that wealthy solar owners are being subsidized by the less fortunate. First of all, have you ever heard about monopoly utility companies being concerned about our more vulnerable citizens? Unfortunately, the new theme these companies use when they want to change something is environmental justice. The companies realize they are losing the battle and more and more people are transitioning to solar, so they immediately change the topic to focus on their more vulnerable customers. Look deeply at their history. These companies have been the subject of lawsuits for screwing over our poor neighbors over and over. When they talk about environmental justice, we are supposed to think they suddenly became Robin Hood?

And second of all, the statistics show that the average solar owner isn’t, in fact, wealthy. Finally, the thousands and thousands of solar jobs that have been created by these programs benefit blue-collar workers, many of whom I’ve gotten to know.

My favorite thing about solar and batteries is that they give us independence from the big companies. I remember in the old days when you needed your phone line set up, you called the phone company and they would give you the runaround and tell you they couldn’t help you for three weeks. They were rude and didn’t care. There was no one you could complain to and nothing you could do to speed it up, because they were a monopoly. Now we have cell phones and we can walk into a store and be set up in 5 minutes. We democratized phones. Solar and batteries do the same thing for power. They democratize energy from the companies that currently control it.

I will keep fighting and standing up to this attempt to roll back our progress. If you want to get involved, let the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) know how you feel here:

If you are interested in learning more about solar or just energy in general, sign up to Sammy Roth's Boiling Point Newsletter here. Sammy is a fantastic energy reporter for the LA Times and I loved talking with him for this week's edition.

Schnitzel Joins the Gang

Before I get into more serious stuff, I want to brighten your day by introducing our new member of the family. I got her for Christmas! Her name is Schnitzel, after my favorite Austrian dish and my own nickname. I can’t wait to keep sharing pictures and videos of her as she gets older. She and Dutch are already best friends. Cherry shows her teeth to her nonstop, and Lulu tried to trample her, so we are working on all of the relationship dynamics. At least Whiskey doesn’t care about anything as long as she gets her food. But she is such a sweet little meatball.

My Friend Ivan

A couple of nights ago, my good friend Ivan Reitman passed away. This is what I had to say about it at the time:

Ivan Reitman is a legend. In Hollywood, he was bigger than life. He was comedy royalty.

In life, he was a mensch - a wonderful father and husband, a fantastic friend, a great human being. He was kind, he was generous, he was smart as hell, and he was always there for you.

I am devastated, and my thoughts are with the Reitman family.

If you knew him, Ivan had a way of making himself a part of your story, and he certainly wrote a chunk of mine. I’ll always be grateful that he took a chance on this Austrian action-hero in a comedy during a time when the studios just wanted me to focus on finding new ways to kill bad guys, blow things up, and show off some muscles. I knew I could make it in comedy, but I needed someone else to know it to make it a reality. That’s why Ivan was a great director and friend: he could see something in you that other people didn’t, and he could help you show the rest of the world.

Making Twins, Junior, and Kindergarten Cop with Ivan was heaven for me. Spending the last few years working with him on Triplets, and once again seeing his passion and genius up close, was a joy. Just last week, I was talking about how excited I was to be on set again with Ivan this fall.

I can’t believe I won’t work with him again or hang out with him again or just schmooze about life again. But I also know that Ivan isn’t gone; he’s still with us. He’s here, in so many pages of my story. And if you were ever lucky enough to meet him, or just experienced his work, he’s part of your story, too.

Thanks for everything, Ivan.

Now that I’ve had time to think about it more, there is so much to our relationship to talk about.

Ivan was the conduit to one of my dreams, to star in comedy films. He meant so much to my life.

In 1986, I was sitting at a fireplace at Snow Mass with Ivan and Robin Williams, and Robin turned to me and said, “I never realized you are actually funny.” Then Ivan said, ”There’s so much about you that hasn’t been on the screen. There’s an innocence, there’s a shyness, there’s a sweetness. It’s never come through.”

I told Ivan, “I’ve always wanted to be in comedy. But the studios tell me they make too much money on my action movies and they have no interest. I’m making this your project. Write a comedy we can do together.”

Ivan came back to me with five possibilities. One was called The Experiment, and I loved it immediately. We had to change the title to Twins because a movie called The Experiment with an Austrian star was a little too much and the rest is history. We made Twins, Kindergarten Cop, and Junior, and we became friends for life.

Just think about the generosity Ivan showed me. From that little conversation in Colorado, he helped me make one of my dreams a reality. He did not have to do that. He could have said, “I just don’t see you in a comedy” and we would have still been friends. But he saw my vision and joined me in fighting for it. He really changed my life. I will always remember that.

Fight Talk

Look who I ran into the other day - James Toney, the legendary boxer! In fact, James is the only boxer to ever go into the UFC and fight an MMA fighter in the Octagon. He lost, but it sure as hell took some balls to get in there.

A lot of you have told me to keep talking about fights, and I don’t think I will do it every single time, but every so often there is a fight that just blows me away and I’m going to have to share my thoughts with you.

So let’s talk about the heavyweight UFC fight between Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane. Ngannou is a total freak of nature, 100% muscle, 6’4”, and he has the most powerful hands on the planet. Cyril Gane is a little bit smaller, but much faster and more technical. It’s the monster versus the technician, which is always a fun fight to watch. I knew Ngannou would have his hands full, but I didn't think it would go this way – until the commentators talked about his knee wraps. I didn’t think twice about it, but afterwards, it was revealed that Francis had torn both his ACL and MCL before the fight. He even had a doctor in Los Angeles tell him not to fight, but he did it anyway. What a monster -- that’s pushing yourself. The fight was slow to start and Francis looked exhausted. He was breathing with his mouth wide open and looked totally lost.

At this point, I thought there would be a new champion, and Francis was just another guy who won and lost the heavyweight belt. But once Francis realized his strength advantage and that he couldn’t set up his strikes as well as he used to, he went for massive takedowns. And when I say massive, I mean slamming the guy like a rag doll! Not your average MMA takedown. He did this for the last 3 rounds and dominated Cyril on the ground. I don’t even think I’ve seen Francis on the ground for that long– not to mention not seeing him knock someone out in the first round. Francis went against all odds, changed his game plan, and executed a new one, all within a fight. We can take this lesson into life as well. We always expect life to go a certain way and it usually doesn’t. As Mike Tyson said, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Francis wasn’t expecting to tear his knee ligaments and he wasn’t expecting to tire so quickly. But he kept a cool head, and came up with a way to deal with the problems. I am so happy to see Francis get the belt back, and I want you all to listen to this amazing interview with him and MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.

One Year Later...

Now, let’s get serious for a minute. My newsletter is everything I am thinking about, and it’s a little piece of me you get every month or so. If you don’t want to read about the serious stuff, you can always skip to the next topic.

I want to have fun and I want to talk about fights and I want to motivate people and I also want to discuss serious stuff, because that's me. There's Arnold the goofball, Arnold the actor, Arnold the policy guy, Arnold the motivator, Arnold the fight fan, Arnold the painter, Arnold the farmer… You get the point. You get it all and you can always pick and choose which parts you read, even though I hope you read it all.

Here we are, one year after the Capitol riot. It’s been one year since a lot of people were lied to, misled, and tricked into trying to stop Congress from counting the electoral votes.

At the time, I published this video. I still stand by it.

What happened was a dark day for America. But I don’t like focusing on the negative. So even though, like all of you, I’m watching as the former president’s followers go to jail one by one, as he refuses subpoena after subpoena, and acts like a man-baby because he was never a leader – just someone who played one on TV – I’m also thinking about how we can restore faith in our democracy. I’m thinking about how we deal with the underlying anger that leads to voters — who are so outraged — that they can be so easily misled.

We need to be honest with ourselves and admit that people don’t have a right to do what we saw on January 6th, but they absolutely do have a right to be angry with the state of our politics and hold peaceful protests around the Capitol.

I won’t excuse people who broke into the Capitol, but I will excuse anyone who is very, very pissed off at Washington’s inability to do ANYTHING to improve this country. It doesn’t matter the subject, Washington and Congress have failed to do it. And there are policies here to piss off liberals and conservatives. They’ve failed to invest in our infrastructure for decades until this year. They can’t come up with a real comprehensive energy policy. They can’t even extend the voting rights act, something they used to do unanimously. They can’t figure out immigration reform. They can’t decrease our debt. They can’t do ANYTHING.

So let’s look at how we get them working again because when I see members of Congress on TV complaining about paying people not to work my first thought is, “ARE YOU CRAZY? We are paying you $174,000 a year to do nothing in Washington, so what are you complaining about, dipshit?”

If we truly want to rid our country of the scourge of gridlock and extremism, let’s use some of the policies we know work. The founding fathers set up a federal system that allows states to be the laboratories reform for a reason.

Come Together

I would love to hear from all of you about the reforms you think we can use to get our politicians working, but I’ll share one of mine. We need to terminate gerrymandering, once and for all, in every state. I’ve been on this crusade for almost two decades, and I will fight gerrymandering whether my party or the other party does it. It doesn’t matter to me. I am only on the side of the people and against the politicians.

For my international fans, every 10 years in the United States, we redraw our politicians’ districts because the populations change and we want our districts to reflect that. Except, in most cases, WE don’t. The politicians do. For 200 years, the politicians have drawn their own lines.

Politicians rig their elections. They determine the outcome before you vote by drawing their districts so that they pick the voters, instead of letting the voters pick the politicians. This is the politician-job security plan. This is why congressional approval can hit new lows (I think it is 18% now, once again, less popular than Herpes) but somehow 95% of them get re-elected every two years! Think about that! Even if you’re pissed off at Congress, your chances of getting rid of your Congressperson are almost zero. So of course people are furious.

Here in California, we terminated gerrymandering and created an independent commission. At the time, the Democrats called it a Republican power-grab (probably just because I was fighting for it, even though my allies were AARP, League of Women Voters, and Common Cause, not Republicans, who also campaigned against me). The leaders of both parties HATED that we were going to turn over drawing the lines to a non-partisan commission, because that meant they might lose their easy jobs. And they were right! The seats became more competitive and a lot of them got fired, finally. From 2002-2010, with maps drawn by the politicians, in 265 congressional elections, 1 seat changed party hands. ONE! From 2012-2020, with maps drawn by our independent commission, 16 seats changed party hands. It was refreshing for the people to see their leaders have to fight for their jobs just like the people do.

But, more importantly, the people recognized that their leaders, now that they had to fight for their votes, actually became better at their jobs. Before our reforms, the California Legislature regularly had a similar approval rating to Congress. It was always in the teens - less popular than Herpes, Fidel Castro, and most bad things you can come up with. Since our reforms, in the last poll I checked for 2021, legislative approval was 50 percent!

When you have fair maps, three things happen that help with the underlying anger among the people:

First, politicians HAVE to perform. Competition creates performance. So the gridlock we see eases a bit when politicians have to run real races to keep their jobs, because they get rewarded for doing their jobs!

Second, the people have a pressure release valve for all of that anger. When you are pissed off about Washington doing nothing but you have no chance of voting out your politician, your anger has nowhere to go. With competitive seats, suddenly you can say, “Hey, screw you, you don’t get paid for doing nothing anymore” and vote them out of office.

And finally, the politicians become less extreme. For my international followers, we have two elections in America: the primary, where each party selects their candidates, and the general election in November, where we choose our leaders. When a politician picks their voters so their district is 70% one party, they don’t need to worry about the general election. They only need to worry about winning the primary election. So they don’t have to appeal to all of the voters, they just have to appeal to their party. That makes them go way to the right or way to the left, because the only threat they face is from their own party. What happens when someone goes to the extreme? When they get to Washington, they’re so far out on the right or the left that they can’t meet in the middle to get anything done. When a district is competitive, so it’s maybe a 50/50 split between the parties, if you go way to the right or left, the voters punish you in the general election. We want our politicians in the middle where the action is. Like President Eisenhower said, politics is like a road. The right and the left are the gutters, and the middle is usable.

On that note, I think we also need top two primaries like we have in California, and we need to extend the voting rights act. What changes would you like to see? Email me with the subject FIX US and I’ll feature some of my favorites next month.

Animal Cookies

And now, before I get into your questions, here’s a video of me baking the cookies I talked about on Jimmy Kimmel‘s show with a few of my favorite sous chefs.

Everybody is always asking me about these, and they’re cookies I bake myself. There’s been a lot of experimentation and I learned the animals don’t like sugar, but now we are at a point where I can enjoy them too! Watch the video:

Giving Back

I asked for some stories about giving back last month, and I wanted to highlight a few of them here! Remember how I told you not to be ashamed of bragging because good deeds inspire others to give back? After the news about my donation to Village for Vets to build 25 tiny homes, they raised an additional 300,000 dollars. That’s why we share. Giving is contagious. Here are three of my favorite stories:

I am a veterinarian and our local animal rescue that runs the City Animal Control is regularly inundated with animals. I reached out to them to see if I could help and they were excited to hear from me. I now go in on weekends to help the pups and we are working towards a small community vet clinic service to help those in need. The other thing I had seen and was excited to finally say yes to was working with a group called Welcome Neighbor that helps immigrant families when they arrive in Saint Louis and with the imminent arrival of people from Afghanistan, they need volunteers too. So I am partnering with a family that recently arrived to try to help them settle and welcome them here.

Hi Arnold! Thank you again for your inspiring newsletter, I always love reading them! So I thought about what I could do for someone, and I got a great idea. I work at a cheesecake factory, and my co-worker has a five year old boy. My co-worker tells me that her son plays football, but all the football gear is so expensive that she doesn't know how long her son can keep playing. So I thought what the heck, I played football about ten years ago, and I didn't play for long so why don't I give my football stuff to her son, they are almost brand new and I don't need them anymore. I know it's not a big deal, but I hope I made her son happy.

Another great newsletter, thanks Arnold. Truly an inspiration to us all, none of us have an excuse to deny ourselves the success we deserve if we’re willing to work at it. For 2022, I started an entirely separate bank account to add a percentage of my income to fund local charities and support journalism every month. My goal is to donate 10% of my income. Now I have a great reason to hustle to earn more money, it benefits more people than just me and my family.

I loved reading these. Thank you all so much for sharing, and I hope you inspire everyone around you to give back like you do.

Community Heroes

I want to also highlight our community hero from this month! Danny Hernandez has been a friend of mine for years. He started the Inner City Games in 1991, which was a way to give underprivileged kids a chance to compete in sports. It was done in the summer when kids are out of school and get in trouble because their parents are working and they are drifting around on the street. Crime and drug use spikes. Danny gave them a safe place to compete and I was proud to partner with him. Eventually, that led me to start After-School All-Stars to keep kids off the street every day between 3-6pm, and now we serve 100,000 kids in 13 states.

He also runs the Hollenbeck Center in Boyle Heights (East Los Angeles), where kids can have a place to go after school and stay out of trouble and do homework and sports and fitness. Danny has been a mensch from the beginning, always taking care of his neighborhood of Boyle Heights and the people who live in it. Every year, we give out turkeys on Thanksgiving, and gifts during the holidays. I haven’t been able to make it during the pandemic, but I still donate the turkeys and toys and love seeing the photos Danny and his daughter send me. Every single time I see Danny he has the same smile, the same laugh, and the same energy that he always has. When I look at his smile, I realize that he’s so happy because he is always helping people. He goes to bed every night knowing he made a difference.

He is a special kind of person, and I am lucky to have him as a friend, and a charity partner. If you want to learn more about Danny and the Hollenbeck Center, check this  out. Or visit their website  here. Below is a video of the Miracle on 1st Street toy drive.

Here are a few of my favorites from last month:

Pump of the month: Dumbbell Skull crusher: This exercise is fantastic to get the triceps pumping.

Song of the month: “We’re Not Gonna Take It” - Twisted Sister. Dee Snider played this on the campaign trail when I was running for Governor, and he’ll be playing it at the Arnold Classic in Columbus. It’s a great Song.

Movie/TV Show of the month: 1883

Book of the month: Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us by Ro Khanna.

Archive shot of the month:

Your friend,