There’s a lot of I’ve learnt over the course of 2018. Much of my research and learning has been minimal in nutrition and exercise itself the last couple years, but rather self-development. Like I’ve always preached, health and fitness are a part of the process not the whole process. I always have difficulty liking many facets of the industry and the fake that comes with it. People devote their entire life to how they look and because they have a physique or physically strong, suddenly are experts on all areas of life. Posting near naked pics with some lame inspirational quote. But I can’t blame them either because it sells. Being enabled by a bunch of followers who are sadly mistaken that their entire wellbeing will be better once they have the body they want and everything that supposedly goes with it. Always remember if your striving for progression, how you look physically is a part of how you feel. It plays a part because movement and a healthy diet is a part of the process. Motion creates emotion. We feel good when we make progress and physical transformations can provide that. It can also have a roll-on effect to other areas of your life, discipline, consistency, accountability etc. But it never should consume so much time that you sacrifice other areas of your life.

But for me I got into the industry to help people. You begin to realise the true significance of mental wellbeing and how it greatly affects us physically. Long term success requires both. Physical training is much more valuable when used as a piece of the puzzle rather than just a distraction from our problems. Like training your muscles, you must push against something for it to be conditioned and grow. You don’t build muscle because you were born with it. We were all born with muscle. But if it’s developed, you must have trained it. Same has to be done with the mind. It needs to be trained and developed. It’s where everything stems from.

Some things I learnt this year.

Are you a bad person because you made bad decision? No, good people make bad decisions when they get in a lousy state of mind. When we let our ego get in the way or we start believing our own story.

But the shortfall is saying it’s not our fault when something turns to crap. Justifying why we acted a certain way. It gives us the mind set we aren’t responsible, and we can’t change anything because we have no power over it anyway. It allows us to stay comfortable with what we know and excuses any need for change. But when we encounter a major catastrophe in our life it demands change. It’s not asking gently anymore. You may have had subtle hints along the way to make change but sometimes a catastrophe is needed to wake us up. It can completely break us down, but we can rebuild ourselves and come out stronger on the other side.

But what if we’re stuck in a bad situation? It’s a good chance its because we are being reinforced by the influences of those around us. Most people who continue bad behaviour get rewarded. There are people in our surroundings that enable us with a response and that’s a sense of reward. Whatever behaviour gets reinforced becomes a habit, do it long enough it becomes our personality and then we’ll tell ourselves that’s just who I am and you just keep living that way.

Funny thing though, isn’t it easy to see this in other people? We might sit back and point out all the obvious changes they must make. But what about ourselves?

Are we addicted to our problems?

Where are we being reinforced?

It’s strange how if life is going well, the conversation with those around us might be short. But if you have a problem all the sudden the person can understand and relate. The conversation can go on for a quite some time. Agree? There is such a fine line of who you surround yourself with. You don’t want to be someone who just cuts everyone off, because that’s not helping each other but at the same time you can’t just gravitate to those who have problems because you can relate and it makes you feel better. The enabling of one another in similar situations does not force growth. Be careful not mistake time for experience. Someone can think they have ten years of experience on a matter. But they have one year of experience they’ve done ten times. They haven’t grown in nine years because they are still in the exact same position they were back then. A profound statement on experience I heard recently on a Tony Robbins video.

My favourite illustration is if you were stuck in a well with friends. You can’t get out. But there is someone at the top of the well saying “Hey I can see a way to climb out!” But the way out to those stuck looks impossible. Your vision and judgement are clouded by the emotional stress your dealing with and it seems the effort required is beyond impossible. You yell in reply “Easy for you! You’re not the stuck down here! You don’t know what I’m going through! You don’t know what it’s like to be me!” We begin to converse with others stuck in the well and say “Mr know-it-all thinks he has the answer to get out. But he’s not the one stuck!”

Is it not because he’s not the one stuck in the well, he can see what must be done more clearly? Looking from outside in with logic. Are we humble enough to take advice from others that are only trying to help us because they aren’t stuck in our situation and may see a clear way for us to break free from bad situations in our life? Or do we continue to tell ourselves our story that led us to the bottom of the well in the first place and reason they have no idea what I’ve been through to get here.

The lesson is, listen to advice and think about it. Even if you reacted defensively to it initially. Can you imagine the potential you could have in helping others if you did escape the well? You now have the tools and emotional EXPERIENCE to help others. To look back down the well and tell others I know what it’s like, I’ve been there, this is how I escaped. Those trapped will respond much more swiftly to those with the actual experience of escaping, even though the answers were still the same as the person who had not been stuck at all. The more you have been through in life and come out of it, the more opportunities you can reach others because they will respect your experience and growth. What a truly motivating prospect to overcome whatever personal crisis you may be facing. The ripple effect in helping others is something special.

People that helped me overcome issues are ones I responded to very defensively initially. But overtime I realised they had the tools to help me rather than just a listening ear that may have been enabling my behaviour in certain areas of life.

If you want to make a change or have a serious break through, you have to give up the story it’s not your fault and that involves giving up the attention, love, connection and sympathy that comes with it from others. Something that is very difficult to do when the behaviour has been enabled by the response of others for perhaps many years.

You got to see what the problem is, but not make it worse than it is and just give up. I repeat do not make it worse than it is. You need to see better times for the future, otherwise you have no power and become helpless. That’s when people will turn to drugs, alcohol, food, suicide etc and it’s sad thing. Now you don’t have to be all airy fairy and unrealistically positive, but you must honestly see things for way they are to fix them.

See the truth in the matter and keep shifting your approach as necessary till you find the method that works. Play the cards you’ve been dealt and that’s not easy by any means at all! It may impossible, unjust and wrong. But we still have to deal with it!

We can deal with problems today with have a future to live for, it gives the psychological fuel we need. Recognise the truth, the truth in the bad decisions we’ve made. The truth will set you free but will make you angry and upset first. Most people don’t see the truth for what it is because it hurts too much to admit. I think personally this is the hardest step because it’s a painful one. It can hit you like a tonne of bricks it’s so much easier to keep justifying the way you are by the story you’ve been telling yourself all these years.

If 2019 is a time for serious change. Identify the issues in your life. Find out what’s true. Don’t exaggerate the problem. Drop the story and define what’s actually true. Confirm the details and determine what you’re going to do. Here’s where I want to go and how I’m going to get there. Who’s done it that I can model, who’s taken the steps, who can help me. Work your butt off, change every day and give. GIVE GIVE GIVE!

If you made it this far, I can tell 2019 will be your year because you’re hungry for change! Why not make it a goal in 2019 to name 3 things everyday your grateful for. This one thing alone that can help change your mind set for growth! I know I’ll be giving it a try!

See you in 2019! Thank you for your continued support in what has been a crazy year of ups and downs.