THIS is as good a time of the year as any to reflect on what’s gone down over the previous 12 months. Look at your successes, failures, what you’ve learnt and what you need to keep working on. Once you’ve done that, the opportunity to create goals for the year ahead presents itself, but that’s a column for another day.
Personally speaking, this year has some really enjoyable highlights as well as some moments of real challenge. From competing and medalling at my first BJJ competition to winning Northern Ireland Male Personal Trainer of the Year, I ticked off boxes that I could have only dreamt of in years gone by.
It wasn’t all good though. One of my biggest ambitions starting out in 2022 was to build and grow the Reignite community. I was, and still am seeing on a regular basis the struggles that retired athletes are facing they hang up their boots and wanted to offer them a programme that helped them transition from that retirement limbo back to their best, with a fire in their belly, a purpose behind your actions, a passion for tackling every day head on and performance levels in the gym, at work and at home way beyond their expectations.
I’ll be honest, it hasn’t progressed in the way I had hoped at all. The lads who are on board are doing brilliantly. The challenge days have been sensational events. But for what I wanted to achieve with this programme, the ambition I have to help that forgotten demographic, I feel like this is one that gets a big red X beside it. It’s not there yet, but it’ll not stop me from trying to ensure that next year is a bigger and better version of what’s gone by in the last twelve months.
There are a few key thoughts that seem to keep popping up in conversations I’ve had in 2022 and I want to share them with you to see if you’ve encountered them too.
1. The expectations of your own reality will define the happiness and fulfilment you get from it.
You might need to read that one again to fully digest it, I know I did! I’ve always been a big believer in taking responsibility for my own actions. Accepting the consequences of whatever decision I chose to make and dealing with the outcome accordingly. What I hadn’t really thought about before this year was that not only do I get to choose how I act, but I also have control over how I feel about things. As simple as that sounds, there are a lot of people out there who just like me, weren’t aware of how much power you have over your own story.
If you have a negative outlook you’re going to get negative results. If you perceive your life as one of failure, loss and struggle through a lens of pessimism the chances of things picking up aren’t that great. Luckily in the exact same breath if you see the world through a lens of optimism, that there’s opportunity around every corner, then that’s what you’re going to get from the reality you’re living in. Pretty crazy, eh?
2. Everyone should do a ‘podcast’.
I’ve put podcast in inverted commas because I realise that it’s just not that straight to wake up one day and decide to do a podcast, but the sentiment stands. Since I’ve started doing the ‘Are you well?’ podcast the positive impact it’s had on my life has been super obvious. The reason is two-fold, firstly I’m speaking to a good friend each week without fail about topics we are interested in.
Tell me this, hand on heart, how consistently do you do that? And not over WhatsApp or at work. How often do you take the time to talk to a friend about a topic that is meaningful to both of you? Meaningful actions create fulfilment. Fulfilment illicit contentment. Contentment sends you to bed a happy man or woman. Secondly, for me at least, doing the podcast gives those who listen to it an olive branch to connect and chat about the topics we cover too. It acts as a conversational bridge between you and the audience, which opens up more connection, fulfilment, etc etc. So, do a podcast!
3. Two opposing feelings can simultaneously co-exist.
It’s important to acknowledge you can feel two emotions that are the exact opposite of each other at the same time and that you aren’t losing the plot. You can love your children more than you thought possible but still want to shout the house down when they’re being annoying. You can feel grief for a loss but happy that the suffering has ended. You can feel fear about taking on a challenge but excitement about the potential it brings.
I’ve spoken to people who’ve tried to quieten down one of those feelings because they thought there was something wrong with them when they were going through a push and pull of opposing emotions. The energy they use on quietening down one side of that internal conversation is incredibly draining, so stop it. It’s normal. You’re not going mad. You’re just a normal human being so cut yourself some slack!
4. Loneliness can be a choice we don’t know we’re making.
This one might cause a little bit of upset but I think it’s worth chatting about at least. There’s been a massive spotlight, and rightly so, on how lonely people are getting not only post-pandemic but in how the modern world is lived in general. We are the most connected we’ve ever been but with the same breath the most disconnected. We scroll through social media and see what people are doing – or what people are showing us they are doing might be a better way of putting it – but we don’t actually get anything back from that ‘connection’.
We might like a post, comment underneath it, or even share it with a friend and speak to them about it, but we’re still not having these conversations in person mainly because it’s just easier not to.
And the fact that we are taking the ‘easy’ way out by shooting a WhatsApp across robs us of real face-to-face time. Then we feel lonely because we aren’t seeing people and having more meaningful connections. I would encourage you enormously to make meeting your friends for walks/coffee/training a priority in 2023. If you’re starting to feel lonely, take control of the situation and begin to get back out into the world instead of hugging your phone and watching Netflx.
5. What is the cost of inaction?
Quite often when we’re weighing up an investment we break down what it costs. For example, investing in a coach or trainer. How much am I paying them? How much time will it take me to reach my goal? How much energy will I need to achieve it? Etc etc.
We think that doing the thing has a cost therefore not doing it must have no cost. Wrong.
When you choose inaction you’re ignoring that the clock doesn’t stop. So through inaction, you’re losing time. You’re not only not moving towards your goal but with each day that goes by you’re getting further away from it.
I saw a Tweet last night that summed this up pretty well, it went something along the lines of this – “What’s the difference between a billionaire and a normal person? They start now.”
So if you’ve big goals, personally or professionally, don’t just make the decision on how much it’ll cost you, be sure and factor in how much NOT doing it will cost you too!
Hopefully one of those hit home. Happy Christmas and here’s to a big 2023.