Saturday, 16 January 2016

Happy New Year

I feel it is a little cliche to say this, but at this time of year, I do tend to reflect on the year I have had and what I want for myself in 2015. 2014 was suffice to say 'epic' for me. In more ways than one, I have completely changed the way I look, the way I act, my confidence levels, my work ethic and my general attitude towards work and who I am. I'll split out the different aspects so I can pin point exactly what I mean.


So this year I managed to readjust my work/life balance, this term is banded about all the time, but I really mean it. I used to put my job/career at the top of my priority list, it went something like this;

Work -> Family -> Friends -> Me

This is not a healthy balance in any way, shape or form. I used to think that this was the only way that I was able to make enough money, and support my family and friends. I didn't realise at the time, that actually I was making myself ill. By putting myself at the bottom of the list, means I didn't actually do anything for me, ever (especially look after myself). I thought I was (looking after myself) because work, family and friends were my life, so putting them before me made sense. Even when that made my extremely ill, working myself into the ground at points - not being able to get out of bed from exhaustion is awful...

Now I know that making myself healthier, means I'm less ill all the time, meaning I have more time to spend with family and friends. Being healthier, means that I am more focused at work, I'm more productive and make better business decisions.

In the past the above diagram has meant that I became increasingly ill with depression, I have mentioned this before in my blog - but it is the truth and often people don't like talking about depression. I have felt low throughout this year, but focusing on my health and fitness, has realigned what I think is important and what I really should let go and forget about.

Over the year, I have very slowly taken my life back, I didn't do it all in one go, that would be impossible and a very daunting task. Gradually I started to say 'no' to working on my days off, or adjusting my work flexibly, so that if I worked at the weekend and were quiet during the week, I would take some of my time back. Having an understanding manager is crucial for this and a career that means you can do this also. I'm not saying that others can't do this, there are other ways of getting that balance - we all have 24 hours in a day, what we choose to do with that time is up to us. We all have families, distractions and things that we put in front of looking after ourselves, but these are things that can be realigned, thought of in a different way or time looked at differently.

Work is still very important to me, in the end it does sometimes I have to come first - above everything else, but 80% of the time it comes alongside my other important things in my life and occasionally doesn't even register as important. These days this is more the way it looks for me;

Me -> Family -> Friends -> Work

The Way I Look

For anyone who has seen me over the last year, the first thing that they would say about me, is the incredible transformation, that I have made in the way I look. I have lost 77lbs (around 5 stone) of body fat, put on 8lbs of muscle - I can also squat, deadlift and chest press over 135kg more (collectively) that when I first started.

I can safely say, that I never (EVER) thought that I would be able to achieve this and thank god that someone did believe in me - Tom (my PT) has a lot to answer for in terms of my weight lose and transformation. I have learnt so much in the past year about health, nutrition and training. I would have never pictured myself as a gym person, but here I am and I love it!!

Looking at the above picture creates three reactions from me, 1) OMG was I ever that big, I never felt that big 2) Wow look at me now, incredible what I have achieved 3) Crikey I have a way to go to get to my goal (spurring me on and keeping me focused.

Weight training and careful eating is how I got here, taking it slow and not trying to do everything at the same time. Sometimes I concentrated more on getting my diet right, other times on my training at the gym. Now, I'm lucky in that I can focus on both at the same time, but this took time and effort to realign the way I think about food and going to the gym.

This year, has been a year of discovering more about than myself, than in the past 30 years - I think turning 30 in itself makes you reflect on who you are and who you want to be...! I turned 30 a few weeks ago and I can honestly say, I have never felt as good as I do now. I'm usually full of energy, I don't care as much about what other people think of me, I laugh more and want to make others laugh, but most of all I have my confidence back - this to me is more powerful than anything else I have achieved this year.

Confidence is one of the keys to be happy I think, it  makes you care more about what you do, who you influence and why you want to impact them. It makes you love yourself, or try to love yourself - I say try, as I don't think I'm quite there in completely loving who I am, but I'm certainly getting there.


On reflection I am a better person  now, than I was this time last year, I'm more positive, I want to help other people more and I want to be kind to myself.

I'm happy, I love laughing and I want to make a difference to people. I attribute this to my hard work, I would not be the person I am now, if it wasn't for who I was a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago - I have worked incredibly hard, it hasn't been easy and I have struggled. But I am where I am today and I'm proud for what I have achieved.

I sound like I'm finished, like I'm where I want to be and that I have no more goals to reach. Some of my friends and family would look at me now and ask 'why don't you just stay where you are, you  have achieved so much?'. But why stop now, I'm not at my goal, I have a goal that I plan to reach in May 2015, this is probably going to be harder than anything I have done so far, but I want to achieve my goal and I won't stop until I'm there.

I will probably get to May and tell you I have another goal to reach for, but where would we be if we didn't have goals, personal and work wise?

A huge thing I have learnt is my appetite for successful, fuelling my determination to achieve.

Some of my goals for 2015 are not tangible as such, not a product you can see, touch or hear, internal goals, which overall will make 2015 more of a success than a tick list of achievements - I want to smile more, I want to be happier and I want those who are important in my life to be happy.

Happy New Year Everyone!! BE HAPPY, HEALTHY AND SMILE

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