Made it! Cold is getting better and I am up and about with time to train, so half an hour yoga and half an hour doing my run/jog/walk thing!
What the hell is going on? For some reason I seem to have completely lost the ability to get up at 4:30 and do anything other than turn the alarm off!
It could well be linked to this cold I have had now for about a week, it is on it’s way out but still……
I did still manage to do a run/walk at 5:45 for a kilometre and a half, and haven’t wandered into the illness induced gluttony that I would have not that long ago!
So no great revelation today other than I can’t bang on about persistence in the face of adversity and then go quiet on days when I can’t be arsed, or claim I ran a half marathon when infact I was wrapped in a blanket and the only exercise was tapping the screen to post this post.
Onward and upward (albeit whining about being ill and shuffling along to show everybody that I am not well)
Ok so this morning was a prime example of a perfect storm, I was up late and I had to be in work very early for a change that I was implementing, so as I have said in the past I had to prioritise, ultimately bread on the table always has to win, all other efforts are to support this not in spite of this so there was no walk, no hour of cardio followed by half hour of Yoga, I followed my emergency morning routine.
- Planks on front, both sides and back held for a minute each.
- Seated splits stretch held for a minute
- forward fold held for (you guessed it) a minute
- Bridge pose held for a minute
- And finally deep goddess pose ( I wish it was a little more manly ) held for a minute
This is by no means a comprehensive workout but it does help to wake the body up and not let it get even remotely comfortable with the idea of a sedentary life again, remember every time you do something you reinforce it and eventually it becomes habit and then second nature.
In this world it is no longer enough to face your demons, you have to face them, sit them down put chains round their necks and make them work for you, inner demons are not some mythical entity whispering to at night, or at least for me they weren’t ! they are the moments just before you do something and you stop because you feel silly or out of place or conspicuous.
Once you sit down and think about as I did these Demons are not entirely against you, in fact like me if you listen to them and take time to digest their message they will tell you so much about where you are and where you need to be, crucially they can sometimes be almost precognitive in nature, so thus simply facing them is not enough, to face something is to accept it’s existence to own it is to bend it to your will.
To attempt to be a superhuman without demons is to strive for the impossible, the two situations simply cannot co-exist, There are many but for me these were the main ones.
One of the main ones that manifests in a number of ways, usually when starting something new or when trying to perform something for the first time in front of others, a good example of this is my returning to the gym, see I trained religiously from when I was 14 to when I was 21, I achieved quite a lot in that time, I became quite strong and was in really quite good shape at the end, then due to allowing laziness to overcome me and through losing sight of my goal I stopped, I didn’t train down or adjust my diet accordingly I just stopped, and the results were devastating I went from 23 stone with a 34 inch waist to 25 stone with a 56 inch waist in a matter of a year and a half, I was a mess I could hardly move and I was unhappy, really unhappy, this went up and down for a while as I started diets and stopped them when I didn’t lose weight immediately and eventually it started to really affect my physical well being, fast forward a couple of years and what I really needed was a comeback I needed to get back into the gym or start some kind of physical activity to save myself, but I was embarrassed, I didn’t want to be out in public because of how I looked I din’t want to do anything that drew attention to myself because of how I felt, many times I faced that demon and started something but didn’t ever see it through because the message was not understood.
If you stub your toe it hurts, and you curse, then you sit down take some deep breaths and the pain subsides then you just carry on about your daily business until you stub your toe again, that is because the pain left it subsided and you calmed down, owning this particular demon means that when the pain is applied instead of stopping and having a minute you use the constant nagging doubting voice to propel you forward because that is the only way to chain and silence the demon for ever, and every minute on a treadmill or every weight I lift the demon fades and my embarrassment with it.
Already touched on previously this particular demon plays on our need to have instant gratification and has many helpers in the modern switched on social media savvy world, I suspect that this one is as old as time to be fair (as impatience appears to be part of the human conditon) this is the voice in the back of your head when you have eaten clean all week and the scale has not moved or the waistband on your pants is still as tight, with absolutely no exception change takes time and the further you are down the road the longer it takes to walk back, but we are bombarded every minute of every day with get rich quick schemes, fat loss programs that offer the body of your dreams in weeks instead of years, here is a real kick in the ass from reality there is no shortcut and it takes effort, and effort takes energy, so many times I listened to this demon and considered quitting what I was doing after all it was right wasn’t it I had tried and tried and got nowhere, but effort compounds and time creates change what this demon is actually saying is you haven’t been doing it long enough yet and you can either quit or keep going, I finally realised this and I kept going owning that taunting voice and making it work for me reminding me that I should not expect overnight results but rather baton down the hatch for the long haul, after all it took more than one night to get to where I was !
Fear of the unknown
This one is simple and I would imagine is a demon everybody is familiar with, trying something new is sometimes a hurdle in itself and usually you come up with a million and one different reasons why it won’t work, this is the shortest of my demons to discuss because it is so straightforward, the best example for me is yoga, I had never given it a second thought as something for me to do, after all I was a bodybuilder what did I want with yoga? , then later on I was massively overweight and completely inflexible so what did I want with yoga and how would I even start ?, of course what I should have been thinking by owning this demon and listening to what it was actually saying is “Everything I have done so far has made me what I am, so am I happy with what I am ? ” the answer predictably was no, you cannot expect to do the same thing every day and get a different outcome, somebody much more prophetic than me once said that and it is true, so instead of using this voice to stop me trying new exercises new nutrition and new experiences I used it as a marker that this was something I haven’t done before and so could not lead back to the same unhappy place I was currently in.
It is too easy to say that life is what you make it and you get out what you put in, but I can honestly say that for me that is pretty much the truth, hopefully the above will help as it helped me to use our inner voice of dissension to drive us forward rather than keep us down, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be manipulated by anybody, let alone yourself !
Additionally I have included the first pictures of me at the top of this post, taken five months apart and with 6 stone lost, I am quite proud to say that I have owned the above demons for a while now!
Hey, so started later today as it is Saturday and between you and me I have had a cold for a few days, but it is onward and upward, family time is just as important as all self improvement to me at least, because I figure that if I lose touch with my family then what am I doing all this for ?
So this mornings foray will be fat loss yoga and then a session specifically on stretching, I will start a page to share the routines I am using so it is easier to see, and then once my Mrs and kids are up and we have had breakfast and so on I will go to the gym for leg day.
I can then put all this to one side and spend the rest of the weekend with my family, until tomorrow at six that is !
As promised I have just started my book list, I will give my honest opinion and hopefully you will find the books useful, my aim is to pick people that have demonstrated the ability to achieve what they are talking about, after all would you take driving lessons from somebody who couldn’t drive but had read a book by somebody who could?
The world is full of people that can speak with authority on a range of subjects without any real background in those subjects just be standing on the shoulders of the giants who have put in the work, but true practitioners people who can walk the walk as well will always be noticeable, if it is money they are talking about, look close they will have the five thousand dollar watch on and tailored clothes, if it is bodybuilding they will look like a bodybuilder not just another guy at the gym and in any discipline they will speak with the air of certainty and authority that only comes from an understanding of the subject matter at a subconscious level, like walking or riding a bike it is second nature to them.
The world around us has been built on the shoulders of giants and that is fine, just be careful which ones you chose to stand on because some lack the strength of their narrative.
As a counterbalance to the vast majority of these types of sites where readers get preached at and are then subject to perfectly timed updates about the authors activities seemingly agnostic of time and the requirement for sleep, I am starting this series of mini posts (they will all be a lot shorter than this one) to catalogue my progress, because I believe each time we do one thing toward a goal no matter how small it is progress.
So if one is late then I probably did it late, if one is missed I probably had something to do other than yoga for instance, but I will try and make them as close to the time I complete the progress as I can, they will never be on a timed publish to appear that I am up at 5.00am when in fact I am tucked up in bed with my cuddly toys counting sheep!
So for this morning, I am going to do 10 minute Yoga routine for flexibility (I am 43 and really need that), a 10 minute Yoga routine for core and pelvic strength (see reason above) and then for cardio I will put in a 45 min power walk (just going quicker than usual with the family dog)
See you all later!
One of the things that held me back and I can see holding friends and colleagues back is the effort required to effect change, the world today is an on-demand environment where we have become accustomed to ordering now and receiving now or within a couple of days at most, unfortunately that is not how life works, change takes time and patience and that is where the majority of us fall down because we change an aspect of our lives and when that change has not had the desired outcome in a week we start looking around for something more effective or at worst simply stop and give up on our dream or goal, often reasoning that the people who have what we want were lucky or had some advantage.
What we don’t see is that these people may have been working at whatever it is for years, I wanted to share a couple of tips that I used to manipulate my inner narrative and make progress.
Change of Vocabulary
All too often I used the phrase “I am going to try” or “hopefully this will work”, to try something I reasoned was to accept that it might fail, also because you are only trying something you don’t give it maximum effort because you are not invested in it’s outcome, similarly this goes for hopefully while hope is not a negative emotion by any means it isn’t committed it is not absolute and so if it fails it is not such a monumental event.
I spent a long time trying to get back to the gym, trying to get my studying done and trying to stick to a diet, and guess what I wasted years trying, to be honest it was my lovely wife (the woman in the pictures that accompany some of my posts) that inadvertently changed my outlook on it, she joined slimming world and instead of saying I will try and support you by eating the same and following the plan, I simply said that I will support you by following the plan, to date I have lost six and a half stone, this has taken ten months and has led to me being back at the gym and moving toward being in the best shape of my life.
So I began with replacing trying with doing, hope with make it happen and instead of going on a diet, changing my diet, use words that provide a positive course of action as opposed to leaving the outcome to an outside force.
Believe in yourself
Dead easy to say, not so easy to do, and to be fair I more mean trust yourself, I spent so long questioning myself and my abilities that I managed to scare myself into not taking any action at all, if you think about it I imagine that you, like me juggle a million and one things each day just to keep ticking over and maintain the status quo, and we do this without thinking and without questioning if we are able, because we have to do it, my suggestion and what I have been doing is changing my perception of the status quo, accepting and realising the uncomfortable nature of stagnation and staying where I am and using that to move from “I need to change my life” to “I am changing my life because I have to” having to do something, I mean truly having to do something allows us to trust that no matter what the outcome we will do our best and work as hard as we need to, after all if you can’t trust yourself who can you trust?
End each day with an evaluation
Change as I said is slow, it takes time and effort and can be painful especially when playing against our need for instant gratification, it is all too easy to think that you are not getting anywhere or you are not learning a subject because you are not at your end goal, I realised that knowledge and progress compound, they build on what went before, so if your aim is to, say, learn to build a website and yesterday you knew nothing about it but today you know how to structure the HTML to create a page then that is progress and it should be viewed as such, this also follows with nearly everything else we do in our lives, if we want to lose weight and get in shape, each cardio session or each rep moves us further to that goal and it will become easier the more we progress, the brain and body are amazing at adapting to anything we choose to do to, help yourself as I did by allowing it the time to do so, so I now end each day by thinking about my goals and what I have done to move closer to them, being honest some days it is nothing, not a thing and others it is the tiniest shift, and then there are days that all the effort compounds and I move over a mile stone.
The important thing to remember is that if you are not happy with where you are, as I wasn’t it will not change without you doing something different and that takes effort, so if you are putting the effort in then you think it is a worthwhile cause, and if it is worthwhile then it is worth maximum effort, I have stopped attempting multi-tasking and compartmentalised my activities based on the goal I am pursuing and then put everything I have into it, and it is really paying off.
One of the first hurdles I had and my first revelation was that I needed information, lots of information, but it needed to be good qualified information that had Value, I am not alone in searching for ways to make money, build a better body or find happiness only to be inundated with a sea of information that is completely contradictory.
The revelation was that I needed to Learn Faster and so I went in search of how to do this, I found someone who looked promising,
I started following him on podcasts as well, these are free and accessible to everybody, in fact if you input your email address at the above link you will receive three free videos from the courses he uses to teach companies and executives his methods.
This is a cornerstone of the Superhuman training, the ability to learn quickly is invaluable, in fact I would go so far as to say that without it any further endeavours are going to be really restricted in the results you get back.
With the ability to learn a new skill within weeks not years pass exams first time and not have to rely so much on professionals for advice because I can read and understand the plethora of free information the internet has to offer, life goals are that much closer, so where do I begin?
Unlock the power of books
Any given subject any given genre, self-help to technical manuals, books are the fountain of knowledge but without the ability to read them and absorb the information they are useless, I hadn’t read a book cover to cover for years and reading was laborious and I lacked concentration and focus, I decided to tackle this by,
- Identify what I thought I needed to learn to progress my goals.
- Start to practice reading.
- Learn how to focus so I can absorb the information.
First thing I would suggest is like I did pick up a book and start to read a little every day, I started with 15 minutes, and built it up, I am now reading for 30 mins a day, it is important that this is reading time not glancing time, so I prepare by making sure that any foreseeable distractions are dealt with, Turning Off the Mobile Phone and settling down to read and absorb, I also find that earphones with no music playing helps.
A valuable lesson from Jim Kwik is to forget what you already know about a certain subject because we tend to skim over information we already know, I cannot count the amount of times where just reading a passage word for word has revealed a missing piece of information and completed a lesson I had been trying learn, I will start a list of books I have read and update it as I finish each one to show that I am indeed reading as much as I say.
Concentrate on one thing at a time
Possibly one of my biggest failings was fooling myself that I was multi-tasking, I was thinking about business when I was studying, training while I was working and how to fix my life while working out.
I forced myself to stop and focus on one thing a time and while doing that push it to the maximum and really stretch my mind and body, so if it is a morning where I am doing yoga I get up and for the next hour that is all I am doing I do not think about anything else, same as reading I sit down to read with a purpose and do not do anything else, If I am studying a subject that is the only input I will accept, and when I spend time with my family I do that to the exclusion of outside influence, there is no bigger tragedy than your child seeing the back of your phone more than you face.
Using the method above I can condense learning into a smaller more productive time frame because I am not trying to concentrate on something else at the expense of my main focus at that time, as a guide I will keep a diary over the next week and try and explain how I organise my day to fully utilise the time we have.
Enjoy what you are doing
Leisure activities are easy and the time passes quickly, we also tend to remember things we did while playing / enjoying ourselves more than things we find a chore, when the clock runs slowly and you labour over the subject matter you may as well forget what you are doing and chill out for a bit, I try and find fascination in everything I do, I build myself up with excitement at the prospect of learning something new or seeing my children learn something or indeed hitting another milestone at the gym.
Remember why you are doing this
I make sure to never lose sight of the end goal, I struggle like everybody to make it through sometimes and to put the time aside, but whenever that happens I stop and think about life without the worry of money, without being out of breath when running around with my children and living instead of living for the weekend, my advice Picture your goals and remember that anything you learned today however small is a step closer to them, always move forward.
So the first thing that I started to think about was “what makes a Superhuman?” and here we have the first of many questions that are completely personal in their reply, however there is a certain amount of commonality when considering this question, it is easy to say that a Superhuman has some extraordinary power or trait that sets them apart from the rest of the human race, but as we are nearly all slaves to the Hollywood machine that is about as far as it goes, they can usually fly and see through walls and lift cars as if they were toys,
as tempting as this was for me to be able to aspire too I was painfully aware that I was never going to fly without a plane wrapped round me and I am far to old to start trying pick up cars!
No I had to dig deeper into the question, for me (and it will inevitably be different for most people) a Superhuman had several traits, physical fitness, a caring selfless personality and financial freedom enough that they could live their life without the stress of money and enrich the lives through education and security of our children and loved ones, and it should be noted that at the beginning of this journey I tick none of the boxes.
I realised sometime before my first catalysing event that I had to change my life but I did not look any further than the need for more money, what I didn’t realise was that I was looking for the wrong commodity, you see money in itself is pointless, money unspent is simply paper at most and a number on a screen at it’s least, if your figure is only double digits and you are unhappy then unless you change your environment that figure can become ten digits or more and you will still be unhappy.
I wandered from business idea to business idea with no direction and no idea of what I was looking to achieve as a result I gained nothing, sure I did get a better job but due to lack of purpose or goal I simply grew quickly into the increased income with no change in environment and thus stayed unhappy.
One observation that I did make at the time was that I never had any idea if what I was doing was getting me anywhere or not, progress through any scheme wasn’t quantifiable, I have now realised in retrospect that this was a direct result of having no end goal, ask yourself this, if you set off out of the house with no destination in mind how do you know how close you are? simple you don’t ! and I didn’t and so I wasted years just aimlessly existing and making no progress at all.
Time to Stop the waffle and make my point!
So I sat down and actually looked at my life, took stock of what was making me unhappy and used that to formulate my goals, they were as follows
- Physical Fitness (I was hugely overweight)
- Financial Security for me and my Family (we were broke)
- Time with the people I love and for myself (I spent most of my time working for a pittance and trying out ideas to make a million)
The way I worked this out was to start at the top, what life would look like if I could wave a magic wand and change all that was wrong overnight, then slowly methodically working back from the top identifying what life needs to be before I can move onto the next stage, the process was long but I eventually had the issues in the brackets above, and the goals without brackets.
Now, there is no magic wand, no five minute montage to inspirational music, and here’s a real kicker nobody is going to help you (at least not for free)
So I encourage you to do the same, and before you start remember some key points to help you keep motivated along the way,
Concentrate on moving Forward
Anything in the past is in the past, this is true of any event that has gone before, agnostic of it being positive or negative we cannot turn back the clock we can and should only ever move forward, sometimes that will clearing up mistakes of the past, and that is perfectly fine, in fact the lack of courage to admit past mistakes is what holds a lot of us back, and of course facing the pain of whatever we need to do to fix the mistakes, I tell you something, it certainly kept me back for a lot of years.
You have not failed
A person can only be regarded as a failure if they do not get back up, on your journey, as in mine there will be things that do not go exactly as planned, that is life not a reflection of your effort, and it affects as us all, you have already begun to fight back by looking for an alternative to your current situation.
Don’t forget the cliche
You get out what you put in, it is old and far from original but it is true, 100 percent effort will give 100 percent return, careful though cos 1 percent effort will give 1 percent return, be vary wary of people offering quick fixes to all your problems.
I am sharing my journey because I fell into every trap and went down nearly every rabbit hole before I learnt how to start putting my life back together, while I will never charge anybody directly for my musings through subscription or such, I do fully intend to make as much money as possible from advertising and affiliate schemes, and I completely encourage anybody to do the same.