It’s the evening of Sunday the 24th of November as I type this sentence. Incredible how early I’m sitting down to get started on another summary of my year.
Last year’s recap was drafted around Christmas time itself and served as both a sharing of wisdom to you guys and an outlet to me. This year the sentiments are different. The enthusiasm to get there early is a direct reflection of the year I’ve had; a year full of enthusiasm. I entered it enthusiastically, I will always recall it with enthusiasm and I’m enthusiastic to share my findings with you all this year.
Lesson #1 – You never know who will come into your life & when
This is pretty cliche. It’s a fancy way of telling someone to shut up when they’re on a downer or being negative. ‘You never know what might happen tomorrow!’ they say. It’s the perfect fairytale; life is shit and then suddenly someone comes along to make it all Ok again. But this is your life, not a story book. Often times we cling on to these magical hopes while doing very little to change our current circumstances or environment.
I’m a big proponent of living your life in the ‘right way’, which is to say living positively and productively which will encourage similar energies back to you.
With an open mind and conscious effort towards improvement you can find your way to some truly great people. Sometimes it might not even be a new person but rather an old connection from back in the day. Obviously this is within the realms of good terms still being present – so no exes you hate or friends that screwed you over (barring some extreme cases, of course).
I’ve rekindled a few friendships this year and they’ve all gone on to be more profound than a one off catch up to break the ice. Of course, for this to happen you need the other party to tick the right boxes too but anything is possible. And so often these people will return and have a positive impact on your life in ways you just couldn’t foresee.
Lesson #2 – Anywhere can be your home
The idea of venturing out is a scary one. The magnitude of fear you feel will be proportionate to your travel experience and how big your scope has been thus far, and even the people you are around the most can shape this. If you’re brought up in a family of small minded people you’ll find it much harder to break the mold, as this is what’s become your norm. But your current and past doesn’t have to be your forever.
It all starts with the first step, cliche AF but also true AF. This broadening of horizons will carryover to other areas of life as well: bigger social circles, larger business ideas, scarier goals and the most amazing experiences.
Although even deeper than that, you’ll realise even the most ‘distant’ places can feel like home. As much as the world is incredibly diverse and cultures vary so much, you’ll be amazed at how comfortable you can feel thousands of miles away from where you call ‘home’. Sometimes, dare I say it, you might even feel more at home in the most unexpected of locations. The only way to find out is to keep nudging that comfort circle further out until your soul smiles.
Lesson #3 – Fickle will always be fickle
You can be sure you know someone to be a certain way at a surface level and then life can somehow bring you closer to them, leaving you almost second guessing your assumptions. They can charm you, surprise you, bring you happiness you didn’t see and ultimately leave you wanting more. Despite you knowing moments are fleeting and people are fickle, it’s only human to be drawn in, even if only a little. It’s at this moment you start wondering where this is heading…….
Which is a dangerous position as you’re now at their mercy somewhat. Even though you predicted precious little, you now want to be proved wrong. Even the greatest cynic isn’t totally devoid of some optimism. And alas, this is usually where you start to see your predictions being proved correct. Of course this is just my experience this year and there are always exceptions to the rule, but normally if you’re a good judge of character, people don’t change just for you. They are them, regardless.
In terms of taking the sting off this, it’s about being honest with yourself: was it about you or them? Was it on your back or theirs? If you can objectively say you did your bit without regret, then beating yourself up is fruitless. Although you’ll tend to do that as you’ll search for answers and with answers comes closure/peace of mind. But sometimes the answer isn’t logical because it belongs to the other person. And in a case like this, your fate is out of your own hands.
This is what makes relationships a scary notion for so many – in order for them to work the investment needs to be a closely matched ratio from both sides. Somewhere in the 50/50 – 65/35 (at worst) ideally. If it falls out of those ranges it just won’t work. People are inundated with options nowadays and our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. All of this is making the whole dating scene so much tougher.
People are how they are and you can’t change that. Very few people are as aware and driven towards genuine improvement as you, and as a result, they will often be as you’ve always known them to be.
Lesson #4 – Sometimes even your best isn’t enough
A wise man once said, ‘if you do your best, you cannot regret anything’. Which makes sense but in genuine cases that you find yourself falling short despite giving it your heart and soul, or giving it your absolute best, it doesn’t stop the fleeting feeling of inadequacy and the pain associated. You couldn’t have done more yet you still failed.
When you muck up, you know had you not have, you could have got there. The outcome could, and most probably would, have been different. That shit is painful.
And while the dream can seem over when your best isn’t enough, it’s only over in the present time. You now isn’t you in 6 months from now or longer. Your best then may be enough for the same mission or maybe you’ll conquer a different mission?
If you live by the sentiments of never ending and constant improvement, you’ll find your way to bigger and better opportunities. Sometimes it may take longer than you think and this is what separates those who make it and those who don’t. Can you ride out the quiet periods where there seems to be no reward? Can you keep faith while second guessing if you’re even getting anywhere? Will you seek help when you’re confident progress is truly stalling?
These are all tests you must pass. They’re not hard, they just involve living without constant gratification or validation. A line I like is: ‘the work you do in the darkness when nobody is watching paves the way for the moments in the sunlight when the world is watching’.
Lesson #5 – Success shouldn’t be quantified by attainment of singular ‘achievements’
One of the most cliche things to do at this time of year is reel off a ton of things you want for next year, or things you intend on doing. The precision kings will scream about the importance of laser like focus; aiming at something to the micro-millimeter. The issue with this approach is it doesn’t allow for nature’s law of variation. As I’ve said many times, the world isn’t just linear where everything happens in straight lines and everyone can be put into boxes, neatly. This has been one of my biggest personal lessons thus far!
Ultra laser like focus on one singular thing – take goals like wanting to earn £100,000 by the end of next year, needing 30 clients per week by the middle of next year, putting on 10 lbs of muscle, squatting 500 lbs or whatever else can be precisely listed created a mindset where anything other than those is deemed a failure. You made 85k after all and made 65k last year but didn’t hit the 100k mark, are you a failure? Well you didn’t hit your target!
I’ve struggled with this this year in regards to my physical goals, which for me were attainment of very specific skills. Many of which I’ve not achieved, BUT I’ve still improved massively as an athlete and am much closer to those skills than I ever was. And sometimes we cannot quantify a process into a set time-frame because, as we touched on above, nature has so much variation and many factors lie OUTSIDE our scope of control.
Oh and I can hear the protests of, ‘this mindset will just leave you with complacency!’ Not quite. The very fact we’re able to look at how well we’ve done (OVERALL) gives us a sense of achievement that’s diluted nicely with the awareness of having not got exactly where we wanted, which in turn keeps you fired up to do the necessary things to get you there, now you’re even closer.
Having reflected on this quite a bit, I think a better strategy should you want to set specific goals for a given time frame is to break the task down into milestones. Yes, this is nothing new but like most simple (and time tested) concepts, it gets forgotten.
Let’s say you have the goal of a strict muscle up in 2020. Rather than saying I want a muscle up in 2020, how about we break it down with your current level in mind? If you can do 5 pull ups as an absolute max right now, how about we aim for 10 by the end of February 2020? If we get it earlier, great but that’s a nice realistic time frame. From there we can set the new goal as a nice, controlled 10-15 second eccentric muscle up along with 1-3 chest to bar pull ups by April? After that it’s 3 bar muscle ups with the black band by the end of June and maybe your first ever single by August??
Of course there will be some variation on the time frames but it won’t be too far outside of the ones listed and all of a sudden you’ve got a big goal with no steps broken down into incremental and achievable targets. Bingo.
2020: A new decade
Rather than list how many goals I have for 2020 I will end by saying if I can have a better year than last year, I’ll have had all the success in the world.
Happy new year to all readers, everyone who comments and anyone who has in any way shape or form, supported my work this year and over the years!
As always, for any business inquiries, post ideas or technical chat, drop a comment below or talk to me direct (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.