Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

This year has not been good for the fitness side of my life. At least, not yet it hasn’t. The Coronavirus caused gyms to shut and bad habits to be formed whilst working from home – if you were lucky enough to be able to. For many people, this has meant that waistlines have expanded as exercise levels plummet. I am certainly one of those people. In the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to get a greater handle on my fitness now that the gyms have reopened. This will be a short post about what I’m up to and what I hope to achieve with my fitness and weight loss journey.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

2020 So Far

My fitness has seen a steady decline since the start of the year. Even before lockdown began, I was well on the way to being the heaviest I have ever been. Lockdown made the issues worse by cutting off access to the racket sports I had started to play again with friends. As time went on, and I was moved to working from home, my exercise levels became non-existent.

It is not like I did not try at all. I made a weekly plan, doing yoga on some days and others a workout with my kettlebell. This did not last, however, as I think I lacked the commitment at the time to continue with the practice. I would never turn away from doing physical things and even started to do the Couch to 5k running plan. This went very well and I was making good progress. Unfortunately, a family tragedy paused my taking part in the running and it never resumed.

This has led to 2020 being a very bad year for my fitness. That is, so far at least. I now want to take back control and assume responsibility for my fitness journey, and hopefully, drop a few stones at the same time!

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

What’s Going On Now?

A couple of months ago I started a new challenge, the 500k Steps in 50 Days Challenge. You can find out more about it here and how I did but generally speaking I crushed it! I ended up well over my step target and I was thrilled with that. Over the 50 days, I also lost 7lbs as I decided to get back into healthy eating at the same time.

When I say get into healthy eating, what I mean is simply stop snacking so much. Where before I would consume a lot of food outside of my three meals a day, I stopped snacking almost completely. Being more reasonable about the amount of food I ate didn’t mean I ever felt like I was depriving myself though. It was almost liberating.

Thanks to all of the steps and the reduction in calorie intake, my weight dropped. At the end of my challenge, I knew I wanted to keep it up. I’ve stuck with the lower calories and started attending the gym again thanks to them reopening.

Because I had to return to the office, the gym time slots do not work very well for me. Especially as there is no facility to change or get showered at the gym I go to currently. Going after work would mean waiting around for almost an hour, and having to carry my stuff with me whilst I workout.

I still make a point of going at least once a week though, normally at the weekend. During the week, I am currently doing a session at home with my kettlebell. I found it a challenge to get back into weight lifting after so many months of doing none, but now I am getting back into the swing of it. That is a kettlebell pun, by the way.

The gym is also very quiet at the moment. For the most part, because of the layout over many floors, I rarely see another person aside from the receptionist. It helps me go first thing in the morning too! This certainly makes me more comfortable as I get used to it again.

Thanks to being back at work, I am also getting a lot of steps in naturally, just by walking to and from work. We are very busy at work at the moment, which means I’m not getting a lot of steps in whilst at work as I’m glued to the emails or phone. Despite this, I am often hitting my daily 12k step target.

Update: I wrote this before Lockdown 2.0 was a thing. Now it is a thing, so the gym is a no go for the time being. However, still doing workouts at home, but not as many as I would like to. Hopefully will bounce back to it properly once the gym reopens.

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Looking Forward

Whilst things are quiet and I cannot be embarrassed by messing up, I am hoping to increase the weights I can lift at the gym. Hopefully, I will then also branch out into other exercises and workouts. Although I am looking to keep it simple to make sure I stick to any schedule for the duration. This is not my first attempt at maintaining a program by any means and they normally fail because I expect too much – whether that be time spent exercising or too much variation.

I am going to look into doing RED January at the start of 2021. This is an event where you do something active every single day of the month. I think this will be both a good challenge and a decent way to build my fitness further. I’m hoping to mix in a variety of activities: long walks, weightlifting, running, and anything else that the Coronavirus might allow!

Once I set up my page, I will be raising money so I will share links to this. Money raised for RED January goes towards an excellent mental health charity, Sport in Mind.

Given how mentally taxing 2020 has been and (I am sure) 2021 will be, I am pleased to be supporting a mental health charity. Charities, like Sport in Mind, can be a lifeline to those struggling with not just Coronavirus fall out but any number of issues.

I will be doing another fitness-based blog post at the end of January to talk about how things went.

Aside from this, I am looking forward to making 2021 the most physically active of my life! All I need to do is be consistent, so it should not be too hard… right!?

Getting Back on Track: Fitness & Weight Loss

Thank you for reading this update on my fitness journey and I hope it has given you something to think about for your journey! I know many of my friends are looking to get in shape, lose weight, and become fitter in the New Year and I will be right there with them cheering them on as they cheer me on!

What are your thoughts about your current fitness condition and journey? Let me know your next steps in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
My Photography Journey

My Photography Journey: From Amateur to Hopeful Professional

It has been a long time since I first picked up a camera and it has been quite the journey. From point and shoots to DSLRs and now mirrorless cameras, my passion for photography began in earnest in my university undergraduate days, although I did not realise it at the time. Now I am taking my first steps as a professional photographer and earning money from what once was a hobby. Here is my photography journey so far, from amateur to hopeful professional.

My Photography Journey

The Early Days

Some of the earliest memories of taking photos I have are during a school trip to Portchester Castle with what I believe was a disposable camera. I still have the photo album in the attic which has the pictures in it. I must have been around 9 years old at the time. The pictures might not to a gallery standard, but they are important to me. Digital cameras were only just becoming a thing back then, and I remember growing up as the technology continuously improved.

Move forward a decade to when I started at university and I now had a point and shoot compact digital camera I was incredibly pleased with. I took thousands of pictures during my university days and they were mostly of my drunk friends. Even now, the photo albums remain visible on my Facebook page.

At the time, I do not think I was considering doing anything with my photography. It was not until a year after I finished university and I used some of my first paychecks to buy a DSLR camera. It was a Nikon D3100. An entry-level camera, even for the time, but I am happy I did not spend any more money. My knowledge of photography was, at best, limited and a fancy camera would have been wasted on me.

I did love this camera, however. I used it quite often but primarily at special events, such as festivals and family gatherings. At Christmas in particular, I would be running around the family party to get pictures of people. Eventually, I got a tripod and group shoots became more of a thing. I also fondly remember going to the local Christmas Festival and walking around with my camera to take pictures of all the wondrous things going on.

Unlike now, however, I would not go out to “casually” take photos. And despite having a book giving me the low down on my DSLR and all its capabilities, I would not use the camera enough to retain more than a general understanding of what it could do. I almost lamented this fact, as I did with a lot of things at the time. I felt like I did not progress a lot in this period with my hobbies, or, indeed, my life.

My use of the D3100 camera reached a peak during a 2015 visit to Amsterdam. Some of the pictures I took of the city and my friends are ones that I love and ended up being used in later years on cavasses as gifts to family and friends at Christmas. That Christmas I also got my first subscription to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

My Photography Journey

By late 2016 my passion for photography was rapidly growing, however, I found my current DSLR to be too big and bulky to carry around with me on a day to day basis. I was often seeing things whilst I was out that I wanted to photograph but the effort of having to carry a large DSLR with me put me off taking it. I decided to upgrade my camera to something more compact but still powerful, and this started my ongoing love affair with Olympus.

The EM10 Days

My Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark III was a fantastic little camera. Not only was it better in every way than my previous D3100, but it was much easier to carry with me and stylish too! I even had a couple of lenses for it which was a first for me. This was the point I decided I wanted to go professional, although I did not know how to accomplish this. What I did realise was before I could go professional, I would have to learn more about photography and my camera.

The first true test of the EM10 came the Summer of 2017 when I went to the French Riviera. Aside from being a glorious location which I thoroughly enjoyed (and had wanted to visit since university), there were many photo opportunities. The lightweight nature of the camera really helped. I could not imagine carrying my older camera around in that heat all day. I got some excellent pictures on this trip and it cemented my love of the EM10.

My Photography Journey

I started to use my camera a lot more at this point. Being able to carry it about much easier – it could comfortably fit into any bag I was carrying – allowed me to increase the amount of time I was getting to shoot. I enjoyed taking the camera with me to many places including country parks, events, and on other international holidays such as Lisbon.

Despite the growth in my usage of my camera and the increase in my skills, I still felt not ready to push forward with anything “professional”. I continued to gift the occasional print or canvas, but my life was mostly occupied in other areas meaning that looking to develop my photography into a money-maker was not a priority.

When it came time to plan my goals for 2020, I know I wanted to make a concerted effort to push my photography further. I committed to going on at least on a monthly trip with my friend with the purpose of capturing great photos. It was going well for the first couple of months, but unfortunately, the year took a bit of a turn when the Coronavirus took hold and lockdown began.

For the first few weeks of lockdown, I am not sure I even touched my camera. But by May I had decided to take it with me on my walks to continue with my goal. As the lockdown eased, I and my friend resumed our photography trips.

My Photography Journey

The Start of the EM1 Days and Going Professional

I put off trying to sell my prints for a long time because I was worried about what people might think of them. Despite praise from others, I had my doubts. I knew I had to take the leap, however, and made the decision to start selling my prints. That being said, I could immediately start selling them. One thing I was sure of, I knew I needed a plan.

I did my research and after a few weeks had a decent plan of action moving forward. I had investigated how I wanted to sell the prints, what platforms to use, if I would need to register as self-employed, and all manner of things that come with the creation of a small business.

One thing I knew I wanted to do was upgrade my camera to a professional level one. I was not sure about this at first, as it was a considerable financial outlay. But, I surmised, even if I were unsuccessful at selling prints and what followed, I would still enjoy the act of photography and that meant I should get the camera.

I decided to stick with a brand I knew and opted for the Olympus OM-D EM1 Mark II camera. Whilst the Mark III is out and (technically at least) a better camera body, Olympus had a special offer on to get a free lens if you brought the Mark II. I could not pass up a free £1099 lens, especially considering the benefits of a second lens for my hopeful photography career.

Aside from a few hiccups in the camera when I first got it – which you can read about in my Instagram Story Highlights – I have to say I am really enjoying the EM1. I am looking forward to getting out with it a lot more and getting some amazing shots.

With a new camera in tow, it was time to launch my new print shop alongside my revamped website. To much thunderous support (from my sister who was incredibly happy for me) my print shop opened on Saturday 7th November 2020.

This year has not been good in so many ways, but I am hoping this can mark a changing point in the year.

I will not stop at just a print shop, of course. I also want to expand into other areas of photography, doing work professionally in some capacity. Going forward, I want to experiment with my portrait photography. I also want to expand my reach on social media which is going well at the moment.

My Photography Journey

I did want to talk about how to know you are ready to go professional in this post, but I think it has already reached a decent length. This is something I will be talking about when to know you are ready to go professional, and what my next steps in photography journey will be, in my next photography blog post. I am hoping to do monthly posts on photography, so watch this space!

In the meantime, thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this insight into my photography life thus far. Leave a like if you did, and please comment below if you have any thoughts or want to share your own journey in photography!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing

The Einstein Window

The Einstein Window: The Key to Time Management

A huge part of time management is knowing what to work on and when. Your productivity can be seriously hampered if you do not properly organise your time. When you are going to work on what task. Having a clearer picture of this is key whether it is to maximise your hobby potential, or to ensure you meet that crucial deadline at work. Think about the issues you might face at work or when otherwise trying to organise your time. What challenges do you face? I can tell you that there is a period of the day when you will get your best work done and that is the Einstein Window.

What is the Einstein Window?

The Einstein Window is the time each and every day when you have a mental peak. Work might feel almost fun as you manage to complete tasks with each and push onwards to the next one. It is the time of day you feel capable and productive as your power through your work and those problems you face seem more like fun puzzles waiting for you to solve them.

If you are not sure of what I am talking about, try to think back to your last day at work. Think about how productive you were throughout the day. You are not at the same level for the whole day. Consider when you were the most productive and how that felt.

The mental peak of the Einstein Window normally lasts two to four hours. It can happen at widely different times for different people and can vary based on your lifestyle and diet too. Luckily, where we spend so much time at work it is likely to fall whilst we are there, enabling us to capitalise on its positive effects.

For me, it starts around the middle of the morning. I feel incredibly motivated and I can get through tasks with ease. I think for most people it would probably be during the first few hours of your work when you are better rested and not worn down by any monotonous tasks. Take a few minutes to identify when your Einstein Window is.

The Einstein Window

Protecting Your Einstein Window

Once you know when your Einstein Window happens, you need to learn to protect it. This is the period of the day you have the capacity to get the most done and you do not want it to be hijacked by outside forces. You want to be able to effectively use your entire window.

The process of protecting your Einstein Window begins with occasionally saying no. You need to prevent interruptions from happening to your work by anyone at any time during your window. I’m sure you can probably think of a few times someone has asked you to do something whilst you have been deep into other work. Moving on to help that person with their problem makes you lose focus and time for your own tasks. Some of you might even be able to think of an occasion when you have had person after person requesting your help, eating up all of the time you had to work on a particular task yourself.

When you agree to help your colleague, that is when the interruption happens. If you can, I would recommend politely telling your colleague that you are unable to help at the moment but will come back to them later. Make a note to go back to them at a more convenient time for yourself, and then continue with the task at hand.

It is important not to come across as unhelpful. That is not the vibe you are going for! So be sure to follow up with your colleague when you can and not to forget about them. They will appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to assist them, as long as you do!

If you work in an office you will not be surprised when I tell you that they seem to be designed to maximise interruptions! Working in clusters seems to promote talking over computers and desks at each other. This can make it difficult to get your work done and make the most of your Einstein Window. You need to be able to focus without getting distracted by colleagues, and the best way to do this is to leave the office. Or, at least, your normal office space.

Maybe there is a breakout room, or unused meeting room, that you can make use of. Maybe you have the option to work at home. If you have a particularly important task to get down during your window, I would recommend trying to remove yourself from any situations that might distract you too much.

Collaboration and creativity are valuable to teams and businesses, which is why offices exist in the way they do. It is important to know when to make use of those resources and when to back away to get important work done. This is especially true during your Einstein Window.

The Einstein Window

Distractions we create

Take a moment to think about all of the distractions that you might create yourself. Primarily, I am talking about your mobile phone. Here we have a device which is constantly connected and going off all of the time.

I am sure that some of us are very good with our phones and do not keep them on our immediate person whilst at work. In some cases, however, you might need to keep it on you so you can be reached on it. This is particularly true for the self-employed and freelancers, who rely on their phone to generate work!

Even if you do need to have your phone on your person and not silenced, it is worth thinking about what distractions you are willing to allow during your Einstein Window. I would certainly recommend either removing or temporarily blocking access to social media apps, and other apps you might waste your time on. Not only will this significantly cut down on the number of notifications you receive, but you also will not be able to waste any time scrolling through your feeds. Most modern phones have a function built in that you can use to restrict access. I promise you the world will not end if you switch off from your phone for a couple of hours.

Mobile phones are not the only distraction that we make for ourselves though. Self-sabotage might also come in other ways, such as booking meetings too close together. You need to allow yourself either a decent amount of time between meetings to effectively complete tasks, or book them almost back-to-back as not to waste time between them.

Whatever you do, try your best to remove any distractions during your Einstein Window to reap the best results.

Now you have identified your Einstein Window, it is time to go out there and make use of it. Try organising yourself so you have tasks to do during your next window and see how you do. I’m confident you will be very pleased with the results, particularly if you are normally prone to distractions or moving from task to task without resolving them.

Have you heard about the Einstein Window before, or does it sound familiar? What time do you have your window and what do you do to make the most of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
When does a hobby become something more?

When does a hobby become something more? A look at trying to become a professional photographer

There are some lucky people out there. Lucky people who have a day job which is something they truly enjoy and fulfils them. For the rest of us, that is but a dream. I think most of us have had thoughts about turning a hobby into a stream of income. Perhaps even had lofty goals of this income replacing our day jobs. To be able to do something that we wake up excited to do every day would be bliss. But at what point does a hobby become something more? Here is a look at my thoughts about this and trying to become a professional photographer.

I believe that almost any hobby can be turned into something to make money. Whether it can be enough to support you solely can vary greatly depending on the hobby – and how good you are at it. There are ways to make money with almost any hobby or activity. On a very basic level, you can talk or write about the hobby and generate money from advertisements on a blog or service like YouTube. You can also get sponsorship for posts or videos this way, or use affiliate links for a small kickback. Starting a revenue stream this way is very popular at the moment!

Doing the hobby itself to create income is another option. If you are a great painter of miniature models you could consider doing commission work or entering competitions with prizes. If you enjoy dress making it might be worthwhile selling some of the dresses you make. Graphic designers can create bespoke logos and other graphics for people. For almost any hobby I can think of it would be possible to monetize it somehow. If you have a hobby you make money from, why not share it below in the comments section?

For the past few months, I have had the desire to take my photography further. I want to be able to make money from what I enjoy doing, and perhaps at some point in the future even have it replace my job.

There is a lot I still have to learn, however.

I have been putting together a list of things I will need to move forward with my plan. At the top of the list, as I would imagine would be at the top of any similar list, is doing more of the hobby. Taking more pictures. I can have all of the fancy websites, invoicing systems, and contract templates I like. Without the ability to take good photographs they will be useless. Without a stunning portfolio and the ability to draw potential clients in, I don’t have a business.

But that is not a problem. That is because this is a hobby first, and taking pictures is what I enjoy.

When does a hobby become something more?

Developing your hobby

Recently I have been trying new ideas and having a go at different types of photography. Specifically, I have been focusing on city photography over the past few months and I have been quite happy with the results. I have also been looking at black and white photography. You can see some of these photographs as the accompanying images to this post.

I want to move on to trying out portrait photography next. I’ve had a little success with this in the past, and want to experiment and learn more about this form of photography. I have already begun asking friends to strike a pose for me, and hopefully will have some lovely results soon!

Developing your hobby is key to making an income from it, and this process should never stop. There are always new things to learn and new techniques to experiment with. Even if you decide not to adopt these ways of working going forward, the experience they give can be invaluable to you and your audience.

Chances are that you will consume some content from other people who are making money from the same hobby as you want to. Whether that be a blog like this one or a YouTube channel, you will get the opportunity to learn from their experiences. Whatever that post or video talks about, you might go on to try and thus giving you another – perhaps unique – perspective on it. Share that perspective with the world!

Not only will sharing what you learn to help other aspiring hobbyists (whether they seek to make a profit or not), but will show to the world that you are serious about refining your craft. This can have huge benefits, not least of which is attracting potential clients!

When does a hobby become something more?

Consistency and Set Backs

It is cliché and often repeated, but, indeed, you can only develop your craft, build a brand and a following, and start to create an income from your hobby with consistency. Consistency is the key to success and often one of the hardest parts of, well, basically anything.

Being consistent means that people know what to expect from you. They will enjoy seeing your regular posts, and they will know what service to expect from you when making a purchase. Only focusing on trying to turn your hobby into a moneymaker for a few days each month will never work.

This is a huge reason why some people will not succeed in their plans. They will suffer burnout from trying to do too much at once, or they will get distracted by something else. If this happens to you, the important thing is to remember that setbacks happen. You just need to make sure you get back to it as soon as you can. You certainly should not feel that all is lost just because it has been a few weeks since you last updated your Instagram account, or made a sale, or made any hobby progress. Do not forget to make use of hobby projects to keep you engaged in the process. They still work even when you are trying to make money!

I have certainly struggled with consistency with just about all of my hobbies over my life. And even now, knowing that I want to move forward with my photography, I sometimes struggle to find the motivation to remain consistent. It is natural, however, to sometimes falter and I know I have what it takes to make the dream a reality.

When does a hobby become something more?

Make a Plan

If I can give you one tip, it is to make a plan. With a plan and vision, you’ll be able to clearly set down the path to turning your hobby into something more, something you can make some money from. The focus you gain from a good list is enough to keep you consistent and prevent distractions and burnouts!

A key reason to make a plan is to ensure you do not forget to do anything at the start of your enterprise. If you will be making money, there are all sorts of legal things to consider. Even when creating a website, there is much to be done. Missing any part of these could cause problems further down the line.

A good plan will be created over time, as you research more about your hobby and how you could make money from it. I have been looking in to become a professional photographer for a few weeks now. I have a list which is continuing to grow as I work on some things and discover other areas which need attention.

I would certainly advise, however, that you should not procrastinate by doing nonstop research! You must, as some point, start the business! And start to make money from your hobby.

Even once you have gotten underway, you can still implement to-do lists. They could be incredibly useful in some situations. For photographers, for example, you might have a list of shots you should take for each session. Maybe a list of things to do before or after taking the photos. These don’t need to be one-time activities but things you do every time. This list will continue to grow as you learn more and more about your hobby and refine your craft. And as you do, your potential to earn will increase.

When does a hobby become something more?

Turning your hobby into something more where you can generate a little bit (or a lot) of money from it is certainly something I would advise everyone to try at some point in their life. You don’t necessarily need to invest huge amounts of time into it, just so long as you do consistently work on it. A little each week is all you need to get started.

Over time, by sticking with it, you will find it easier to devote more time to the hobby and the business side of it as your reach grows and sales increase.

You will also be able to learn so much from the experience. Whether that be about running a small business, new ways to experience your hobby, or meeting new people. There are so many opportunities that open themselves up to you when you invest some time in something you love.

Even if you aren’t concerned about making money from the hobby, there is still a lot of growth to be had by pushing the boundaries of your hobby and exporting it to other people in some way and fashion.

There is a lot to gain by working on your hobby to turn it into a small business, regardless of whether that means leaving your current job or not. Particularly in these uncertain economic times, having another stream of income is not a bad thing.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any experience of turning your hobby into a small or large business, successful or not. Don’t forget to like and share this post with your friends too, to ignite the spark of hobby growth in them too!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing
What am I doing with my life?

Asking yourself: What am I doing with my life?

I think we all get to a point in our life where we stop and wonder, to ourselves or another, what am I doing with my life? Perhaps this point comes at retirement when your job can no longer define you. Maybe you have just finished university and you are not sure what to do now. Perhaps you have been in the same job or field for years and it is becoming apparent that it is not what you wanted from life. You are not alone in these thoughts.

What am I doing with my life?

What am I doing with my life?

In my own life, I am constantly thinking about what I want to do with my life. What I want to do “when I grow up”. Although I might be grown now, the certainty of my direction in life is not there. I wonder if this is down to the expectation of having a set career path. I have never known what I wanted to do as a career, and that did not bother me. But because so many people define themselves by their job it feels weird that I cannot, or at least do not want to, do the same.

Recently I decided at the next social function (whenever that might be – thanks COVID) where I meet new people, I will respond differently each time to the “what do you do?” question. I will respond as a service assistant, as a blogger, as a photographer, as a pianist, as many other things too.

Embracing the fact that I can be more than one thing is helpful when I get to thinking about the direction of my life. Considering this has made me much more positive. I think the answer to this question for me is less tangible. I want to achieve many things, and experience many things. Have a good, enjoyable life. But from day to day, what I want to do can change and that is okay.

What am I doing with my life?

What are you doing with your life?

I wonder how many other people stop to ask themselves what they are doing with their life? I guess, on one level or another, we must all do it. To be uncertain about one’s life is a very human characteristic. But just because it is natural does not make it easier to deal with. This is particularly true for those of us which struggle more with answering the question.

For some, the ongoing global pandemic might have caused this question to come to the forefront. Whilst some people are managing to get by relatively unscathed, some are not as fortunate. Personal and monetary woes might have people questioning their direction, past and present.

I think given everything that is going on that now is a good time to discuss where we are all going with our existences. It is not an easy discussion to have, because the answer will be so vastly different from person to person. It also requires a lot of reflection, which some people might not be used to doing.

What am I doing with my life?

The path to an answer

To answer the question of “What am I doing with my life?” you must first understand and accept that the answer if it can be found at all, is very likely to change as time goes on. What drives you in one moment might change, due to personal growth and changing opinions, due to social change, or due to unforeseen events.

I wonder if some people might find it hard to accept that things will change over time. That what they might want will change and adapt as the clock moves on. I think that it is especially important to understand and appreciate this, not only for yourself but for those around you. People grow and things change. And that, as they say, is life.

It is also worth knowing that it is all right not to have a clear picture of what you want your future to look like. Perhaps you have not worked it out yet, and that is fine. What people perceive as their future and what they end up with, in reality, are probably quite different anyway. That is also okay. In some ways not knowing might be better, as you will not be artificially tied to one big end goal. You will be free to keep exploring, growing, and experiencing new things.

Experiencing new things is a key component of growth. With this growth will come a better understanding of what you want to do going forward. There is so much to experience and learn out there is this big world – and beyond in the stars! Deciding what you want to do with your life without seeing what is on offer can be, in some cases, a mistake. Anecdotal stories of older generations waking up and believing they have wasted their life are not hard to come by.

But just because you might be older does not mean it is too late to experience new things and to set a new path. Whether you are 20 years old or 80, you should always keep learning, developing, and striving towards a goal or ambition. For as long as you are able you should encounter the myriad of opportunities that your life affords you. Do not decide at 60 you are disappointed with how things are going and spend the remaining 30 or more years of your life being unhappy about it – that is a third of your life!

None of us knows how old we will be when the time comes for our life to end. If this is not reason enough for you to stop procrastinating than I am not sure I can offer you anything that is. Deciding what we want to do with our life is not something that should be rushed in to, but equally, it is not something that should be put off again and again.

What am I doing with my life?

This might all seem a bit wishy-washy to you. Perhaps this is coming across a bit idealistic. Perhaps it is. But it can be grounded in your life quite easily. Give thought to your interests and do not settle on something because it seems the easiest option. Yes, in many cases what you want to do with your life should be realistic, but that does not mean it needs to be specific in its scope. These do not need to be SMART objectives (although this post might help you reach your goals)!

Perhaps the simplest advice I can offer is not to put too much pressure on yourself in making this decision. Remember that you can always change your mind! As you go about your life, you will be subject to new things which will continue to shape you.

Never stop learning. Never stop growing.

What do you think about this? Have any helpful tips or personal experiences you can share? Post them in the comments sections below!

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Human beings are creatures of constant change. It is not our way to be just one thing, in one place, for all of our time. For some, falling into the unchanging ‘tree-like’ stance can be detrimental to their wellbeing. It is our habits and preferences that can take root and make us immovable. This prevents us from progression in our life and causes stagnation. Breaking free of our roots and moving forward with our lives is not something impossible to accomplish, however. This post will take a look at how we can encourage fresh growth in your life by making the smallest modifications and setting new goals.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Change isn’t always pleasant

It is comfortable to do the same thing over and over again. Patterns and routine are kind to us. We know them and they know us. Moving away from these habits and towards new ones can be difficult because of this.

You will naturally resist any attempt to change your ways. You are so accustomed to them that you may find yourself justifying staying just as you are. Maybe you’ll begin to barter with yourself. Just one more take-away – it’s been a difficult day! Afterwards, we can start the diet tomorrow.

The saying that there is never a better time to start than now is not only true, but we all know it is true too. Our self-justifications that there is always a better time to do things is, actually, rather laughable. There’s a reason we want to make the change, and it is because we are not as happy as we think we will be after the change. But the unknown quantity that exists, and the doubt, make us delay our development.

I’ve experienced this mental barrier personally (just about every time I go to exercise) and must confess I am not always able to break it down. Sometimes I just stop and decide that things will work themselves out in the end: there is no need for me to change.

I’d wager most of us to can point to a recent example where we essentially talked ourselves out of doing something that we originally wanted to do. It begins as us putting things off and finding other things to fill our time. In the end, we push it so far from our thoughts that all notion of it ever being achieved is forgotten.

Deep down we know that change can be positive. If we can improve ourselves, no matter that it might be difficult, I say we should try. Eventually, you will tire of the same old life, day after day. If you wake to find yourself stagnant one day, with your roots firmly planted and no sign of your life progressing, it might be time to take a look at making a change.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Know what to change and what to keep

It’s important to know what you want to change and what you want to keep. It’s also important to realise that trying to change too much will set you up for failure. I’ve written more about this previously in this post.

If we are honest with ourselves, we can often highlight a few areas of our lives we would like to change. It’s good to also recognise those areas that are beneficial to ourselves too. We don’t want to make the mistake of doing away with those, accidentally or otherwise!

Similarly, it might not be worth changing things for the sake of changing them. Don’t fix wasn’t isn’t broken, as they say.

What you need to focus on are those areas which, perhaps suddenly, no longer feel fulfilling. When the same old, same old begins to take its toll, it’s time for an upgrade. A change for the better.

One way of looking at it is by Marie Kondo’ing it. If you aren’t familiar with this author (and Netflix sensation), Marie Kondo advocates for decluttering of possessions by picking up that item and deciding whether it sparks joy within you. If it does, it stays. If it does not, it goes. The same method can be applied to the mental clutter in our brains and also the clutter of our lives and the actions we undertake (or don’t undertake). If getting up an extra hour before work to catch up on social media beforehand isn’t doing it for you anymore, it’s time to stop.

Of course, we must accept also that this is a very personal decision. Everyone has very different lives. Some might seek to stop doing tasks which others want to begin. Identify what is important to you, and want you want to do with your life. If you have made and recorded your goals (whether by resolutions or otherwise), take the time to assess what steps you need to take to make your dreams reality.

It comes down to knowing what works for you, and what doesn’t.

Further, remember that not all changes need to be huge and significant. Sometimes a small change can be very impactful (and more than that, easier to achieve). Many small steps can make up a large one. The art of setting smaller, more readily achievable goals, is something I have written about previously in this post about my 2020 goals.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Be S.M.A.R.T

Aside from making sure you have a strong foundation to build your changes upon (see this post I wrote on the subject), you also need to make sure your goals are SMART.

Chance are you’ve come across this acronym before. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time.

Your goal must be specific otherwise you might not know what you are doing or how to get there. It cannot be too broad and must enable you to be able to take both small and large steps towards its completion.

A measurable goal is one with defined criteria for success. Such as dropping 10lbs in weight, and not something like being beach-body ready (although that is the dream).

The goal must, of course, be achievable. If it isn’t you are likely to become disillusioned and you’ll find that nothing much changed at all. It has to be something you can actually do.

Realistic goals are easier to maintain. It’s important not to make a goal too difficult to complete. Goals shouldn’t be too grand. If they are, perhaps you should consider breaking them down into smaller ones.

Time sensitivity can help get results. Not setting yourself a time limit on when to achieve something by can lead to perpetual procrastination. On the flip side, giving yourself a deadline – such as completing 5 home-made Christmas cards by the start of December – can be a powerful motivator and a way to keep yourself in check.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

Things to consider and how often to make changes

As I said at the start, humans are beings of constant change. But it can be important to reflect on the speed of the change sometimes, for the above points. Make sure you always put yourself first, in a loving manner, and take the time to smell the roses.

Small changes might happen all the time, but what about a significant change? This varies from person to person. Those more used to making large changes might feel more comfortable doing so more often, and vice versa.

Be kind to yourself if things take longer than anticipated. Patience can be a reward in itself. Likewise, if you find your goals coming together nicely at a pace quicker than anticipated that does not mean you should rush out to find more goals. Perhaps it would be a good time to sit back and enjoy the moment – you’ve earned it.

There are a few things which you should consider before attempting to make changes in your life. We’ve touched on them already so I’ll just highlight them here:

  • Is this change/goal beneficial or fulfilling to me?
  • Does it meet my personal standard of significant? Is it worth changing?
  • Is it SMART?
  • Am I being patient and kind to myself if change is happening slowly?
  • Am I appreciating each moment along the way if change is happening quickly?

The most important thing to remember through this process of change is to remember that regardless of whether it is faster or slower change, you are still worthy and deserving of that growth. Become the best version of yourself.

Encourage fresh growth in your life

If you have any tips for those wanting to make a change to their life, whether small or large, please share them in the comments below. Shared knowledge can help us all improve.

Michael is Amazing
Michael is Amazing