I really enjoy listening to podcasts. Over time, I’ve racked up a few ranging from game design and theory, all the way through to fitness and personal finance. I’ve recently really enjoyed listening to Listen Money Matters (thanks for the tip, Patrick!), a podcast about personal finance.
During an episode I listened to a few weeks ago, the concept of a 30 day list was mentioned, as a way to curb impulse buying. The premise is, if you want to make a purchase, place the items on a list and ignore it for 30 days. Once 30 days are up, revisit the list and see if you’re still interested in making the purchase. If you are, go ahead and plan for it. If not, you know it was just an impulse purchase. I did this a few months ago without even realising it, when I had a sudden urge to purchase the (then new) Nintendo WiiU while attempting to summit Lion’s Head on the hottest day of the year, in 2013. Clearly, this was an impulse purchase, as I’m not a huge gamer anymore (yet I love Nintendo games!).
2014 was a tough year. The toughest year for me, yet. I’ve been debating for a few days whether or not to write a reflections post. I’ve just returned from my first gym session of 2015, and feel pretty positive, so I reckon what better time than the present to write this.
This year past brought several life challenges I’ve never had to endure, until now. These challenges are deeply personal and not entirely appropriate for this blog, so I won’t go into specifics. One interesting characteristic of a challenge is how it forces you to re-examine and re-evaluate other areas of your life. Large portions of 2014 were spent reflecting inwards, inspecting myself and my lifestyle and making small, yet highly impactful, changes to how I approach the world. One of these changes was to hack myself and get my fitness lifestyle under control. While this happened from late 2013, 2014 was the year where I kicked this into high gear… and it feels great!
For the past few months, I’ve been following the “Advanced WordPress” group on Facebook. I joined the group thinking I would be exposed to advanced questions around WordPress development work.
What is it that they say about assumptions, again? 🙂
Through observation, it is apparent that the group is more focussed around advanced uses of WordPress for client websites, rather than development topics. I figured I’d keep following the group in any event and see what comes up.
For those who have known me for some time, there are a few realisations which are pretty evident; one of which being that I’ve always been a “big guy”. Call it what you like; a “strong build”, a “wide frame”, whatever. It’s all the same. I’m also not really a fan of being told what I “should” do. Think along the lines of “Matthew, you should be exercising 6 days a week, you know”. Not very encouraging.
Couple these points together, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Someone who is a big guy and is being made to feel like he doesn’t want to exercise, even though he knows he should be. Not. Smart.
The tipping point
At the time of writing, I’m 27 years old. While I’m not a walking mountain, I’ve not been happy with my weight for some time. Not being a very sporty person, and being the ultimate pizza lover, are not character traits which sit well together.
It was time for a change, and the only person who could action this change, was me.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve also always enjoyed blogging, and have tried regularly to form a blogging habit. Over the past few months, I’ve managed to break several bad habits (eg: checking my emails on my mobile phone) as well as craft some wonderful new habits, such as a daily 5.5km walk with our beautiful puppy, Maddie. The one habit I’ve yet to (truly) form, is a blogging habit.
In re-reading the above paragraph, I take note of the first sentence above; in particular, they key-word, “writing”. Not all writing is blogging. Therefore, I’ve decided to reframe this goal from a “blogging habit” into a “writing habit”. That sounds like a much more realistic, and specific, goal.
I firmly believe that anything is possible and that we should rethink the concept of “the impossible”. Sometimes, the end goal may just take a few steps longer than others, to achieve.
Contrasted to that, I like to see things get done now. Just git-r-dooooone. Generally, I don’t find this too tricky to achieve, as I’m used to the environment in which many of my day-to-day goals reside (code, WordPress, products, value). Having a firm grasp of one’s surroundings makes goal setting and achieving far easier.
My mom always says, I perform best when I’m at the top of my class. Bear in mind, I was a C-average student in school. I believe what my mom means, here, is that I perform best when I’m feeling confident in what I’m doing, and my knowledge of the topic and surroundings.
I’m a “lists” person. Give me a to-do list any day and I’ll make quick work of getting it from A to Z. Having a to-do list helps me feel like I’m in-check and on top of whatever I’m working on. More so than my love of lists, though, is my love of checking items off of a list. I love it. I can regularly be found planning out my to-do list for the day, as my first task when I start work in the morning, and I’m sure to check off each item from my list as I go, as well as updating any task reporting tools with the task I’ve just completed (at the moment, we use iDoneThis over at Woo- it’s pretty awesome).
As can be inferred by my love of lists, I like routines. Routines, however small and un-impactful, mean that in some small way, I know what’s coming next (and thus, can do any necessary preparation- either physical or mental). Some may refer to this as a comfort zone.