As another year passes it’s natural to look back and reflect on everything achieved on both a professional and personal level. To focus on the goals smashed and maybe even those we fell a little short of. Here we share our top 3 life lessons from 2014 and let you in on the small changes we made that have had a positive impact on our lives. Hopefully you can use these to implement some positive changes within your own lifestyle.
1: “Done Is Better Than Perfect”
Realising this is something that has helped me greatly on both a personal and professional level. This summer we spent a week with our business mentor and it was highlighted that perfectionism often compromises getting sh*t done. Although quality is important within our work it’s not always the most productive way to be. At times we over think things a little too much, constantly making changes, tweaking things or adding more without ever being satisfied with the end product. It means some great ideas never make it or succeed. If you constantly strive for perfection in every sense then you place a huge amount of pressure on yourself, which can become very stressful and that’s no good for anyone. Every now and then stop and check yourself – there will often be times in life when the situation is less than perfect and you have to remember that’s about doing your best under the circumstances. A good example is not having enough time to do your scheduled workout – instead just halve it and reduce rest periods, just do something!
2.”Address Your Weaknesses”
In 2014 I realised that though we all have weaknesses many people ignore them and more often than not a weakness can become an area of neglect. There are two weaknesses I addressed this year which have had a huge impact on my mind and body!
Weakness A – My Legs
Now, whilst my legs were not skinny they were far from strong – especially in comparison to my upper body strength. If I’m being honest, I didn’t do squats very often because I wasn’t very good at them. So guilty as charged, I would often feel embarrassed to tell people what weight I could squat. I realised there were two things I needed to do a) squat b) squat often. So I grew some nuts and paid regular visits to the squats rack. The result has been stronger, bigger legs, firmer glutes, faster sprints, pain free knees and an overwhelming feeling of awesomeness.
Weakness B – Being Stubborn
I have always been stubborn, always felt I can do everything myself but the truth is I can’t and as much as I like to take on a new challenge and learn a new skill we all need some help from time to time. So from a business perspective I started to outsource projects and employed more people to build our Fitter Food team. At first I felt like a failure for not being able to do everything myself yet soon realised this was a huge step for me. We outsourced to professional people which has improved the quality of our work and assured the job got done. We are truly grateful for our Fitter Food team and I can’t wait for it to grow even more in 2015, we would be lost without them 🙂
3.”You Can Survive A Life With Less Coffee”
Now it’s no secret, I love coffee. Some may say I love it a little too much and I would happily drink 4-5 cups a day no problem. Not because I felt I needed to in order to function but because I simply like the taste. I was once asked what would I rather give up coffee or bacon, after thinking long and hard I realised I couldn’t give up coffee, it’s so much a part of my routine that my life without it would suck. I did, however, remove caffeine from my daily ritual in January last year as part of our January detox plan. After suffering the usual 2-3 days of caffeine withdrawals and less than optimal brain function (no comments thank you!) I soon felt fantastic and received a lot of compliments about my eyes looking clearer and my teeth looking bright white, yet the best bit was the vast improvement in my sleep. As you can imagine I was in no hurry to change this BUT I did miss my cup of coffee so. After my first one I actually felt a bit of a buzz, a burst of alertness and energy that I had not experienced for a long time because I drank so damn much! From that day onwards I vowed to stick to 1-2 cups a day. I have one caffeinated cup and the other is Swiss water processed decaf. Coffee is great and has some awesome benefits, enjoy it but be IN CONTROL.
1. “Moderation Really is Key”
It sounds obvious and although I may have advised it to most people I have struggled at times to find my own version of moderation. Having overtrained, undertrained, followed strict elmination diets, obsessed over BPA’s and added ingredients in 2014 I found that letting go and relaxing a little is probably healthier.
Now don’t get me wrong – most days of the week I eat nutritious food, drink clean water, get eight hours of sleep and walk for a couple of hours daily which provides me with a solid foundation for health, but trying to control your nutrition and exercise 100% can be exhausting and virtually impossible as life and other priorities often get in the way. A big difference for me has been educating myself, which allows me to make the best possible decisions in any given situation and to understand my body’s needs and feedback.
So if I fancy some chocolate or a glass of wine I don’t deny myself those things but I also choose quality over quantity. That means a few squares of dark chocolate or a good glass of organic red wine over a family sized bag of maltesers or bottle of Malibu (not that I ever drink that ahem..)
By doing this I have found that I don’t really crave things any longer. If I need to rest my body – I do. If I need a lie in – I do. If I fancy some chocolate – I have it! By not punishing myself I find I don’t need things to make me feel better and I don’t seek comfort in anything food or drink related. Striking a balance is the key.
2. “Get Offline and Outside”
Is it just me or is time passing so fast these days. I remember as a teenager working on a supermarket checkout and every Saturday I seemed to have a queue a mile long from the moment we opened until closing time and the day just flew by (thankfully!). Sundays on the other hand there were few customers and you just clock watched all day, it felt like an absolute age.
I can never quite believe how quickly New Years Eve arrives each year and I firmly believe part of this is due to the fact that we never stand still and take time to really appreciate and experience what is happening in our lives. These days instead of customers I simply have a queue of things “to do.”
The pace of modern day life means we’re always thinking ahead ….tomorrow, next week, next year, always planning the next big things. Advancements in technology, as wonderful as they are, have also catapulted us into a world where everything happens faster and we’re obsessed with capturing moments with photos and film and sharing them immediately. This can mean that we often don’t take time to experience them in real time. With texts, emails and Facebook we often lack the art of real conversation in our lives as “We r 2 BZ”, we don’t watch the sunrise we “instagram it”, we log onto Facebook and instead of connecting with our pals we question why we weren’t invited to check in at “insert posh pub name here.” All of this fills our chattering mind and leaves devoting a fraction of our focus to the present, so our waking moments just fly by.
If we spent more time switched off from the world, staying still in our surroundings and shutting out the clutter everything slows down, our minds have chance to calm down and you can take in the simple things in life and appreciate the bigger picture. I’ve been working with a coach – Paul Watson – to help me be more “mindful,” I found the whole experience so life changing I asked him to help do the same for our online plans. This is a great definition of mindfulness:
One of the first steps Paul suggested to me was to get offline more and if possible get out for some fresh air and spend time in nature. So now walking Hamish, dates with Matt, going for a run is all mobileless and instead I focus on being in the moment and appreciating the experience for what it is. It’s made a tremendous difference – you notice the little things in life that make you smile, you connect and converse with people more and feel a sense of space and freedom from the pressures of being online.
3. “Do Date Nights”
I’ll let you into a secret; Matt and I used to think date nights were a little cheesy until our publishers asked us how we met and we starting reminiscing about our first date in a pole dancing club in Soho (classy eh?!) where Matt tried to impress me with his moves. We had some great nights out when we first met – where we thought about nothing but each other and having awesome experiences together. After 7 years together (blimey that’s a lot of cooking!) we’re as guilty as anyone of taking each other for granted and not appreciating the qualities that drew us together in the first place. So recently we’ve started making a conscious effort to do a “date night” and plan something special for each other, no mobile phones, no work, just some good old carefree fun. Highlights include a trip to the funfair, rock climbing, a night of oysters and champagne and the theatre.
So there you have it, that’s our top 3 life lessons from 2014. What are your top 3 things? Let us know on Facebook!