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The difference a year makes?

This post should be thought provoking, inspiring and somewhat confrontational – even motivational. Actually, I hope it’s every bit motivational. 

This time last year I provided a sea of posts themed on Christmas, only they were all more on the superficial side of things; gift ideas, ways to avoid unwanted weight gain…….blah blah blah. They were good posts, and in fact, if those interest you, you can check them out HERE and HERE.

This year though, things have changed. And that’s good. Things should change. Even though Christmas is a very traditional time of year, you yourself should be a different version this time around. Any department of life is sufficient. For me, this is the first time I’ve took a very ‘anti-materialistic’ approach to the holidays. I’m thinking in terms of what I need, not what I’d like. 

Novelty versus necessity. 

I don’t need novelty to celebrate; to be happy. The things I want are all things I’ve either achieved this year or am on my way to achieving. Ask yourself: What do I need, truly need? 

The best gifts are the ones you obtained, not received. Achieving something in a self-reliant fashion is the ultimate sign of deserving your ‘reward’. Now it’s time to share our accomplishments, to illustrate what really is different this year compared to last.

Starting with the man in the mirror……….

I’ll go first. I’ll share some things about me that are different from 12 months ago. They’ll be a mix of everything – training, personal development, personal achievement and anything else that’s worth recognition (at least in my eyes).


I got a new job in a new industry that’s lead to meeting an un-scalable amount of great people. In addition, it’s got me certifications and more importantly, even more hands on experience to add to my arsenal. Although, the social interactions are hands down the best factor. Which leads me to……..


This is a touchy subject for a lot of people because it’s one that urges them to take their heads out of the sand and realise what dead beats they need to eradicate from their ‘circle’. What is about to follow may sound ruthless, but I don’t care. It’s true. Anyone in your friendship group who always does things that are in line with their agenda and their agenda only, needs ditching.

Anyone who discourages your achievements, aspirations and even interests needs to play a much lesser role in your life. The same goes for negative people; as they say….”you are the 5 people you spend the most time with!” Think about it. And I know it may seem scary to cut ties with the rot in your life, but if you continue on the path to self betterment, you’ll begin attracting the quality of company you deserve. It’s a game of faith and patience.



This is probably the trickiest one of all. Where to start? I don’t know. I’ve always found this ‘game’ complicated. As far as taking a risk and ‘going for it’ goes, I guess it all depends on whether the object of your affection is giving you anything to go on in the first place? Sometimes a cold shoulder can mean the opposite of the natural interpretation – at least that’s what I’m told!

I guess the best thing you can have here is an open mind, comfort within yourself, an open heart and a willingness to give people a chance. Don’t settle though, there’s always someone out there that you’ll click with, that you’ll feel like time has stopped with, that you’ll laugh with, that you’ll become obsessed with (in a good way)………it’s just whether the universe is kind enough to let you cross their path.


AH HA! The meat and potatoes! My favourite topic and yours too, I know. I’ve covered – in detail – the taboo topic of looking drastically different already (Recommended reading: What’s the deal with all the working out and not looking any ‘different’?) and you shouldn’t always gauge your success on appearance alone – especially when it comes to this thing we call fitness. Just like that E type Jaguar you wanted for years that looked stunning, only you couldn’t see the engine was beginning to seize. There is ALWAYS more to something than you can see. Always.

This year has been a phenomenal year for training and achieving personal records (PR’s) for me. My previous one rep max on the deadlift is now my 8-10 RM easily. I’ve mastered an array of calisthenics movements in just the last few months; pistol squats, dragon flags, L-sits, muscle ups – and I can full front lever for a few seconds now too. I realise this is nothing spectacular in comparison with your Youtube and Instagram heroes, but for a natural guy with VERY average genetics, I’m not satisfied though, the quest continues.


I will also be testing my overhead press max in the week between Christmas and new year and am looking for at least a 5 kg increase. Watch this space!

Over to you! 

That’s probably as much personal information as I’ve ever shared on this site, but it’s something we should all do. We need to know where we won, why we won, where we lost and why we lost. Without honest assessments, that cannot happen.

So go ahead, drop me a line in the comments section. I want to hear what you’ve done this year. How are you different to last year? What do you want to do next year?

Forget selfies on social media, you can have the spot light right here. Let’s celebrate your achievements!

Anyone would think it’s Christmas 😉 

JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

26 thoughts on “The difference a year makes? Leave a comment

  1. I totally agree man, I have seen such tremendous change in myself that it is crazy to look back to January 1, 2015. I am a completely different person. Change is a chance for personal growth or recession, it seems you and I have grown over the last year. Congratulations to us and to everyone else who had a good year!

    Great post. We should connect, come check me out! Just search “Toronto Life Coach on Google, I am studying under Master Life Coach Bruno LoGreco. Keep up the inspiring work!

    • Hey there,

      Thanks a bunch for commenting and getting in touch! Glad you appreciated the post. I will definitely check you and your content out!

      You did one thing wrong though, you didn’t share an achievement of yours 😉 fill us in man, inspire us!

  2. 1) qualified as a personal trainer and started working
    2) completed a half marathon
    3) increased my deadlift max to 100kg (plus lots of other lifts but this is my favourite 🙂 )
    4) lots and lots of dancing!!

    I love the positive message in this post 😀

  3. This is mind glowingly awesome. I love it. I will reply but possibly in a post as it will take me so long. I’ll go away and think about this for a while. I’m in agreement with you on every area. Don’t worry, if I wasn’t, I’d say so.

    I have come to realise that I’m really ok in my own company. Hell, I spend enough time with just me and so I’m kind of relieved that I get on with myself. I’ve ditched people along the way that have taken without every giving. I have found myself being slightly resentful and that’s not something I ever want to feel again. I’m always happy to help others but when it becomes a regular thing without a second thought on their part, I feel I’m taken for granted.

    In terms of my physical goals…. I’ve achieved and exceeded them. I’m pushing myself in ways that make me feel nauseous and that challenge me mentally; more so than physically. I’m learning to not listen to the inner voice, telling me to stop.

    Food has always been an issue for me because of my past history with it….however, there’s been a positive change and one that has allowed me the freedom to push that bit harder and see amazing results.

    I’ve realised that I can write, albeit on a fairly basic level. I have enjoyed the journey tremendously.

    I’m still figuring out who I am and what it is that I want. I think the goals keep shifting and that’s good. I can’t afford to stagnate.

    Loss has hit me from many angles this year and it’s something I’ve come to accept and have found the ability to see the positives that arise from such losses.

    I love my life and I love the people around me. I do feel truly blessed.

    My blog has been life affirming and has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people that have affected my life in ways that money will never be able to replicate.

    • AMEN to that. AMEN indeed!

      I don’t think I know of a more driven and energetic individual than your good self, Anne.

      The taking without giving subject you touched on is huge. So many people keep people in their lives and try to black out that very fact, just so they can say they’ve “got friends”. I get it, but it’s sad really. Shit friends make you shit. As far as blogging goes……tell me about it! I’ve yet to meet an un-interesting and uncool person in this community! It’s like everyone bounces off each other and relates to one and other. It’s brill.

      Keep that stellar attitude and outlook up. Here’s to another great year of blogging!

      • I should bloody well hope so. We are all amazing round here and some of us are utterly bonkers. Seriously so. I’m wondering what I’ll be doing in a year? Muscle ups? Master the squat once and for all. Simply avoiding injury? Whatever it is, it will be done with zest and vigour and a whole heap of attitude. I have one word for you…..DOMS.

      • I have a friend who is a dab hand at those. It’s seriously impressive and he’s in his 50’s.

        I ate a lot but not a huge amount. I did drink too much mulled wine and some fizzy stuff and despite 2 litres of water, I have a headache and feel sluggish. I really don’t know how people indulge like this on a regular basis. Yuk. Ah yes, the DOMS…. tomorrow, I shall write about that subject. I think I’ll have one more rest day, hell I need it. Tried to do a pistol squat tonight and couldn’t get up off the floor. This is unheard of for me. My legs are not happy that I wore heels in bed or for much of the morning. That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?

      • My Boxing day eating was HORRIFIC. I actually didn’t eat a Proper meal until like 1 am! Shameful, haha. That’s the joys of travelling to see people who never eat healthy and proper nutritious food.

        Surely the DOMS have subsided now? My neurotic brain despises rest days, but the slightly intelligent segment accepts them 😉

        Wearing heels in bed for the morning leads me to many possible assumptions! Haha!

      • Ha ha. Assume as much as you like….

        This Christmas eating nonsense is not for me. I did partake in nibbling of the chocolates. My eating was erratic, to say the least and my stomach has not thanked me. I am bloated and feel lethargic and quite horrific.

        Ah yes, the DOMS. Fear not, a post will make itself known. I could barely sit down on Christmas Day, it wasn’t pretty.

  4. Love it! Congratulations on all of your fitness gains! Fitness goals are such a strange thing – we usually work hard, achieve them, and feel amazing about it while everyone around us barely notices (or can’t notice because it’s something like improving our mile time). You’ve really got to have that internal drive to keep going! Don’t downplay your successes, you are doing awesome 🙂

    • Hey 🙂

      Thanks very much for reading and sharing your appreciation for the post and my ‘accomplishments’. You’re exactly right about the relatable factor, everyone’s like………”what’s so special about that?!” And we’re like “If I die tomorrow, I’ve succeeded!” Hahaha.

      You committed the cardinal sin there though………you didn’t share YOUR achievements over the last 12 months?! Come on, inspire us, why was this a great year for you?

  5. I became a triathlete. Signed up for one and ended up doing five. I’ve learned I can stick to something – been training for 18 months now and that I’m super strong to get through some significant health issues. 2015 was good, 2016 will be better!

      • I’m not sure triathlon is completely my thing, especially as running is out of bounds at the moment. In a year I just want to be still at it – 10km swim done and with one pull up under my belt!

      • The one pull up is a great target. I know many women claim to be able to do them, but a clean, proper form pull up from a female is quite rare to say the least. I always say it’s one of the holy grail’s of fitness though. Make sure you push on and make it happen!

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