4 Big Takeaways of 2014

What I've learn2014 has come and gone and a lot has happened. I’ve managed to get into the best shape of my life so far, Sinead (my wife) has spent a year of being unwell and still managed to get into some pretty amazing shape as well. I’ve relaunched my business’s and started some new ones. My folks have been dealing with cancer and illnesses, my girls have got another year older and another year more amazing. These are a few highlights of what has happened but don’t really reflect what I’ve learned. So what have i learned?

Its not about big jumps, its all about little steps

Dog making a huge leapI think that this goes for every area of life but where it has really showed this year has been in fitness. I’ve always been an all or nothing kinda guy, I get that from my dad. Sometimes its so tempting, when you make the decision to get in shape, to jump in so hard that you’re never going to keep it up. I’ve done the crazy diets and the P90x and seen big sudden changes but they’ve always been temporary. This year there’s been no big crazy change just lots of little changes and a hell of lot more consistency – the results have been amazing. Although my diet is unrecognisable from this time last year its been easy incremental changes. I’ve journeyed from eating anything to nearly vegetarian to slow carb/paeleo and am starting to find where my body feels best.  The truth is if you want to make a difference start small – spend this month drinking more water or having a green smoothie for breakfast. That’s it, no 28 day fast of green tea while eating only red apples wrapped in stinging nettles or what ever else useless fad is in vogue. Just change one meal, keep it up and it will grow from there. The same with exercise I started by just walking the dog in the mornings, then that led to running, from there there to pull up and press up challenges. All things that would have seemed impossible at the start looking towards the finish line but day by day you get stronger, not just physically but mentally. You see that you are one step closer than you were last week and in no time you’re looking back on what seemed impossible. This is something that I’m going to be actively bringing into other areas of my life. My most prolific blogging spell I’ve had was when I was writing just 25 minutes a day for each site. That’s all it took, you can get a huge amount done in 25 minutes a day as long as its every day.

You grow the most when things are tough

Sinead has been pretty ill this year. It started with celiacs disease, a change in diet fixed most of the issues associated with it then a bunch of new ones cropped up. Normally you would turn to the doctors and they would prescribe you something but the doctors have been worse than useless. As Sinead got progressively worse I decided to start educating myself. If you want to be great at marketing study marketing, if you want to be great at health study health. So I’ve been studying wellness all year and we’ve found out more than the doctors managed with all of their tests. Sinead has been pretty amazing through out the whole thing, instead of wallowing she’s started working on getting stronger and fitter. Lots of people would have reacted differently but that’s just one of the many reasons I love her. In taking responsibility for her health she’s stopped being a victim of auto immune disease and started being an example of what is healthy. We’re a long way from the finish line but its not as hopeless as things felt 12 months ago.

If you don’t pay attention you can fall asleep without noticing

falling asleepThis year has seen me wake up without ever knowing I was asleep. See The best quote ever. And for the first time there is no self judgement at standing still for a couple of years, maybe I needed the rest for what is coming up!

Embracing impermanence is liberating

It might sound overly zen but its been a real game changer. This year my folks have both been ill. Dad was diagnosed with, then beat cancer of the 3rd time (surely there’s some sort of badge he should get) and mum isn’t well at all at the moment. They are both 75 which has lead me to thinking a lot about how short life is and how important it is to be present and enjoy the people in your life.  Embracing that impermanence has led me to enjoy what would normally have been an awful year without being wrapped in the what if’s of a future that hadn’t happened. Its turned out dads recovered and mum’s at the start of a long journey but regardless of how things turned out I would have had a year of enjoying their presence instead of worrying. Embracing my own impermanence has also let me to achieve far more, realising that every moment is precious and its been the same with our girls growing up. I’ve been present with them enjoying their daily awesome as they seem to be growing up by the minute and this time is a gift.

What would your takeaways be? Let me know in the comments.

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