Welcome back! Today I’ll be talking, or shall I say, you’ll be reading about goals, seems pretty obvious as that was a title on the page too! You may be sitting there and wondering what gives me the right or know how to talk about such things, well we all have had goals in our lives, some more radical and ‘out there’ than others. Some goals we will not have achieved yet, some we may have failed to achieve, but all goals have a starting point; and I would like to share a couple of goals that I have had as well as my starting point.
About 2 years ago this was me....
I was a bit of a loser in my own eyes, and probably in the eyes of a lot of people that knew me at that time. I had developed a very bad smoking habit, terrible eating habits and I was really unhappy with myself. I had turned into the guy that I never wanted to be when I was growing up. I was the guy that was a walking health risk; I was working a job that I really had no passion for because it was never in my mind’s eye growing up. I was outwardly angry and frustrated that ‘things hadn’t gone my way.’ Between 2010 and 2013 I had managed to pack on about 40 kilograms of fat I visited the doctor and the hospital more times than I will ever want in my life; looking back now in all my visits there was a steady decline in my health and a steady rise in the level of concern in the doctors eyes.
I wasn’t oblivious to the issues, I was just so down on myself for getting to this point that I saw no reason to listen to anyone. I knew there was an issue and I knew that it was up to me to change it. I was terrified because I had done the ‘weight loss’ and ‘dieting’ before and doing it again meant giving up what I found comfort in. Food.
I had developed a pretty bad case of sleep apnea on top of everything else which caused a couple of the hospital visits, but I was determined that nothing would sway my love of Pringles, Coca-Cola and cigarettes. I was in a self-destruct phase that was going to end one of two ways, ending up in hospital again and again, or fighting back to turn things around.My loved ones tried everything they could to get me out of the funk that I was in and you know what I think if we were all in America I would have been a great candidate for the TV show, ‘Obese a Year to save my life…’ I got to my biggest stage towards the end of 2013, topping my scales at about 22 stone, which is 140 kilograms or 308 pounds, for those of you reading around the world. For my height and body shape I was pretty damn overweight and I looked sick.
Needless to say I reached a low point one evening lying on my bed wheezing away with a chest infection thinking that life would be so much better if I could get a good night of sleep, without waking up and having a cigarette at 3am of course. Don't worry, you read it right! (Had I seen a medical profession they probably would have diagnosed me as depressed.) Sometimes it would be a midnight snack, but mostly I would wake myself up by choking, and then having worked my heart rate up so much that sleeping again would be tricky; let’s face it breathing and just moving would have increased my heart rate a lot. I would have a smoke and try to relax, lie back down and try to sleep again. This is a cycle that would happen every single night without fail, I was constantly chewing anti heartburn pills to help me calm down and just fall asleep.
It sounds pretty normal to me because I was there, but for a 26 year old the situation was quite dire. I decided that after a night of wheezing and coughing that it was time to take matters into my own hands and change something. (Brace yourself because this is where things get interesting.) I had bought an app on my phone in 2012 to aid in the process of quitting smoking; but I was too skeptical to try it, however I felt like I had reached a tipping point and decided to give it a go. I mean I knew that technology was taking over the our lives, but an app? That's ridiculous right? Not to mention all the naysaying and cold turkey stories that you hear as a smoker from other smokers, you convince yourself that quitting is the hardest thing in the world. Needless to say after 2 hours listening to this app I went to asleep and had smoked my last cigarette ever.
For the first time in years I was taking control of the situation and I felt liberated. I woke up the next morning and didn’t reach for my smokes; instead I showered and went to work leaving them behind. After the first day not smoking I was immensely happy with myself, I couldn’t believe that something as simple as app could help me stop. The thing was, the app assisted me, the only thing I did was decide to set myself a goal; I decided that I wanted to be a non-smoker.
Fast forward a few weeks and I had managed to shake the cough; the cough is something to be proud of, the reason being it means your lungs are coming back to life! It took 5 weeks and a few bottles of cough mixture but I got there. Once that was done I booked a holiday from work and took the money I had saved from not buying cigarettes to have a 10-day break. One thing I had to come to terms with on the holiday was that I was immensely unfit, and uncomfortably large. It was time for my next goal. When I got back from the holiday I bought a juicer to help with the process of getting some proper nutrition into my system. I stopped ordering pizza and a few weeks later the Dominos down the road went out of business! Nah I’m only joking, I was a regular but it wasn't that bad!
It took me three days to detox from the sugar and the caffeine, three days of misery to flush my system of all the rubbish that I had put into it. On the 4th day I was so mentally and physically free that I went outside and started walking, I then jogged, then very quickly had to go back to walking again because I couldn’t breathe. I said to myself, ‘let’s go around this block on the map.’ Once I had done the loop I realised that I had enough energy to do it again. So I did. Soon I was able to jog the route then the route got longer.
You see success builds upon other victories and defeats. It wasn’t easy to jog, some days I didn’t feel like doing a workout, but I made sure I committed, I stuck with my goal of getting fitter. I was so focused on achieving the small goals each day that I forgot that I was aiming for my version of a perfect body. I focused on the daily goals because I knew that was the only way to get me to my long-term goal. If we face facts we are a culture of people who define themselves by aesthetics, we are consumed by it, everywhere we turn we can see celebrities who make it their life to train and look good. There is a key in that sentence; they make it their life to look that way. Some people don’t have the luxury of being able to spend 5/6 hours a day working out, but you will look at the body on the cover of a magazine and think that you can achieve it overnight. You can’t get in that shape overnight, you have to put in consistent hard work. Showing up, doing your best will slowly get you to where you want to be. I am not telling you anything new, people have been doing this for years. If you don’t believe me then have a look at where I am at today with my journey.
I hope that you can read this an understand that it doesn’t matter what goals you set, if you focus on the small steps in between then you can get to where you want to be; don’t forget that every little victory and goal that you achieve will build your confidence inwardly and outwardly. Just try it, I dare you, set small goals for a week and follow them through, I bet you’ll come out at the end of the week feeling accomplished and content in the knowledge that you stuck to a plan.
I can’t explain the world that has opened up to me over the last year, but I can say for sure that I have realised in each and every person there is the potential for greatness. I don’t want to sound like John Lennon now but, imagine everyone in your life being able to move freely without being in pain, everyone being confident, healthy and happy. Imagine how much the world would change if everyone was just 10% healthier. I would love to see you in ten years walking in the street and know that you have achieved something in your life that you never thought you could, because you got inspired set a goal and made your situation better.
So keep fighting the good fight and keep working to your goals, you just never know what you'll discover about yourself along the way!
I’ll sign it off from there and a huge thank you for reading, feel free to follow for more about my journey.
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.