Well it is here. The end of another year. They seem to go by really fast. The end of the year can raise a lot of feelings about your past and your future. For the full month of December I like to look back in my planner and journals and analyze what went right and what went wrong. It's a habit I picked up from my dad as a kid. Typically I will list the big surprises, the small moments of pleasure and the challenges I faced with courage (even if things didn't turn out the way I hoped for). So If you don't mind, I would like to share some of the highs and lows from 2015 with you.
BIG SURPRISES In the 4th quarter of the year I moved back to Kansas. Leaving my home in Texas was difficult because of the friendships I have made through the years, not having the ranch to go to when I wanted to, and leaving my father was really hard because we were finally start to have a relationship. But it all worked out for the good. In the midst of all of that I had the chance to hit all the goals I wanted. I had the chance to have a photo shoot with my good friend Chuck, and I totaled 1416lbs over the span of 3 powerlifting meets. I hit my goal of a 501lb squat, a 320lb paused bench press, and a 595lb deadlift.
MOMENTS OF PLEASURE In the summer of this year I had the opportunity to go to Cancun, Mexico with Tiffany. It was the best trip of my life. It was the first time I didn't workout for more than 3 days in a row, and the first time I have ever saw blue water in person. I ate some of the best food I have ever had in my life, played beach volleyball in the pool (don't know if they even have a name for it), and drank Strawberry Daiquiri's until the cows came home (They weren't strong though, but I still had alcohol and as you get to know me, you will see that is very rare). To top the trip off, I got the chance to ask my best friend to marry me on her birthday on the pier.
CHALLENGES FACED WITH COURAGE One of my best friends and Tiffany lost there mothers this year. 2015 had many challenges but this by far was the hardest. Watching them grieve and go through the process of healing was tough. I encourage anyone that is faced with something similar to be the rock in the that relationship for your friend, loved one, or family member. They will need your shoulder to cry on, ear to listen to their struggles and pain, and most of all they will need your encouragement to help keep them going. My best friend competed in his first powerlifting meet and also bodybuilding competition at the ripe age of 43. He lost over 50lbs total in his transformation and he could have easily just thrown in the towel. Tiffany excelled in her career by getting 2 raises this year (she can now support my shopping addiction, JK). She is an extremely loyal and hard worker. To see her earn that as a small token of appreciation was amazing. So while I might have been apart of their support system, they continued to press on.
As the year comes to a close, I would like to leave you with some principles that helped me hit my goals for the year.
Let go of judgement of yourself and others. When you are reviewing your past year and preparing yourself for the new year, notice if you are making judgments (being blameful or self-critical). Take a step back and examine if your resolutions are based on feelings of being “bad,” “wrong,” or “inadequate.” For example, before saying “I want to lose 15 pounds this year,” examine why losing weight is important to you. Are you uncomfortable with your appearance because you are not confident about your body or afraid that others will judge it? Base your goals on healthy principles rather than judgment from yourself or others. For example, if your wish to lose weight is based on low self-esteem, consider instead finding healthier ways to feel more comfortable with your body. Or if you want to lose weight because of medical reasons and fitness, perhaps focus instead on healthy eating, such as cutting out processed foods and refined sugars.
Have an accountability buddy. First of all, you need to do this with a partner. And the more committed you are to each other's success and happiness, and the more you wouldn't want to disappoint them, the better.
Let go of old habits or patterns that might be holding you back. Old patterns can perpetuate negativity. Actively listen for negative thoughts or emotions occur automatically, often so automatically that they go unnoticed. Ask yourself if holding onto grudges or negative patterns are holding you back.
Highlight and organize the obstacles. Be prepared for the stumbling blocks along your way. Remember that they can be both external (changes in the environment) and internal (changes in your attitude). Recognizing and categorizing the potential pitfalls will help you decide how to best spend your energy and resources on countering them.
Identify alternatives early. Things don’t always turn out as planned, so it’s a good idea to have a Plan B handy, just in case. Ask yourself how you are going to proceed if, for example, you face too many obstacles, or your priorities shift, or you lose your motivation, get overwhelmed, discouraged, etc. Think of these things beforehand so that you don’t make rash decisions under the influence of your emotions later on.