So, 2020 is upon us and I’ve naturally done a little bit of reflecting. I’ve been thinking about everything that’s happened this year – the ups, the downs and what they’ve meant for me. Although 2019 certainly wasn’t my best year, in fact the first half was pretty damn shit, it ended super positively, and I really do feel I learnt a lot this year. I probs only started acting on these newly learnt things in the last few months of the year, but I thought I’d put them all together, to encapsulate 19 things I learnt in 2019.
1. Surrounding yourself with supportive people is the best feeling ever
There’s genuinely no better feeling than someone telling you they’re proud of you. 2019 was another year full of ups and downs, but it made me realise how lucky I am to have such kind and caring people around me.
It started when my baby G died – she was 16 years of pure joy, and I was inundated with thoughtful and sincere messages from friends, family, people I hadn’t seen in years and even some complete strangers!
With my big step into a new career, I had people around me throughout, always there cheering me on amongst it all. I’ve still done very little marketing for both my PT and dog walking clients, purely because word of mouth from people I already know has been so effective and genuine – that’s how I’ve got all my clients so far. (Dw, hold tight for some marketing in the near future 😂).
I’ve legit never felt so supported in my life. I know people have always been there had I ever needed them, but they all came through this year. It’s made so many relationships stronger, from my own family to both old and new friends. Some of the messages I’ve received throughout the year have been so touching – I even had a few birthday cards that got me a bit teary!
This beautiful feeling has definitely made me want to give more back. I remember doing those quizzes at school to find out what occupation would suit you best, and always selecting that I wasn’t really passionate about helping people. I can now wholeheartedly say that I love nothing more than doing just that. Whether it’s helping my clients smash their goals, checking in with my pals and celebrating their accomplishments no matter how small, or throwing a complement to someone on Instagram I’ve never met, I love supporting other people in whatever capacity, cos I know how amazing it feels.
2. There is no point dwelling on what can’t be changed
I’ve stopped overthinking and overplaying stupid things in my head. It’s so easy to cringe about idiotic stuff you accidentally said or did, but now I legit just tell myself to stop being a twat and move on! Overplaying it in my head isn’t gonna change anything. This is honestly HUGE when you stop doing this, although definitely easier said than done.
I guess the same mentality goes for my ongoing list of injuries. I can’t fix it right this second so there’s no point getting fed up about it – I’m better off focusing on what I can do. I hadn’t really noticed this was my current mindset until I saw a physio about my hip. I was told to stop squatting, and stop doing a whole lot of other stuff. He then said the usual spiel trying to convince me to stick to it and not ignore his guidance, and how a few weeks resting and avoiding lots of stuff be worth it. I mean I probs wouldn’t have stuck to it a few years ago and I’m sure he gets this all the time. But in fact I’d already told myself the same thing, and had already avoided a loada stuff for four weeks before I saw him. It literally wasn’t a big deal at all for me to diminish my already somewhat limited list of exercises I could actually do – I was perfectly happy to focus on the stuff I could do. Guess I’m just pretty used to it.
3. Making a job out of a hobby truly doesn’t feel like a job at all
I bloody love my jobs. I love PT-ing, I love walking and looking after dogs, and I love how I get to spend time researching and reading everything about nutrition. I continued to work over Christmas (admittedly not a huge deal of client-based stuff!), but didn’t really take my foot off the pedal much when it came to researching and learning, because it’s what I LOVE doing.
4. Life is so much better when you stop caring about what people think
I’m lucky that I’ve never been one to massively obsess over what people think about me, but this year I’ve definitely let it go even more. I do things because I want to do them, because they make me happy, and not because others are telling me to do, or what society says I should do.
I left my corporate job at the end of August to go self-employed. I’m the only one out of my friendship group from school to be self-employed, and pretty much anyone I know who’s my age. I grew up thinking that corporate life was the only life, so I went to Uni and studied for a Degree that I thought would help that, despite not really enjoying it. I’d wanted to leave my job for a good while, but had no idea what I wanted to do, but I never even considered going self-employed.
I’m not actually sure when I decided I wanted to become a PT, honestly it wasn’t even that long ago! I knew I liked the sound of it but for some reason never considered it would be something I could actually do myself. I wasn’t massively sporty at school, was pretty lazy, and I’m not super lean, super strong, or super strict with my diet. Heck I’d only been gyming properly for 18 months myself and still haven’t even ever owned a commercial gym membership! But I guess maybe that makes me normal, right?!
But this goes beyond my career choice. This year I’ve started caring less about what I look like, or more what others think I look like. I now often post pictures of me just in my sports bra and leggings – something I never would’ve done previously, but why?! Who cares if I’ve got a bit of a muffin top peaking over my leggings, or my atrophied back has started to resemble back boobs. That is who I am – if you meet me in person that’s what you’re gonna get and there’s nothing wrong with it, so why would I cover it up on video/camera? I often train in just my sports bra cos your gal gets hot – I ain’t gonna cover my flub and get a perfectly clean top all dirty just cos a bit of wobble isn’t considered nice to look at.
I posted my first picture of me just in my sports bra shortly after qualifying as a PT. I didn’t even realise it was the first one at the time, which meant it can’t have been a huge deal for me which is great. But looking back, I guess it probably was. I never would’ve even considered posting a pic like that before and used to think how great it would be to ‘have the body to train in just a sports bra’. I wasn’t as if I wished I could do it, I just never really even thought about it.
I wouldn’t say I’m body confident, more body accepting? I wouldn’t say I look at myself and think damn I look good, but I look at myself and just accept it – it cool. It is what it is. It’s just ma bod, we all have them.
This definitely didn’t happen overnight, but I def think the injuries had something to do with this. There’s no hiding when you gotta get your boobs out at the hospital so the physio can help dress you, or you have to call for help when you get stuck in your pj top trying to undress yourself. And having someone send shockwaves into your bare arse cheek and needles in your groin probs played its part too – there’s no hiding from that lol.
I also posted my first non-gym related pic on the grid this year, when it had mainly been just pics of food up until then. I see lots of people on Instagram feeling pressured to post content and make it good. I’ve naturally started to post more fitness stuff and generally just showing a bit more of myself. Don’t get me wrong I’ve lost a fair few followers doing so, but I legit don’t care about a number when I’m posting stuff that I enjoy and what makes me happy. But equally being cool with what other people want to post. I’m happy with me doing me, but I’m also happy that you’re doing you. Post that selfie. Post every pic of your holiday. Talk to the camera about your slight inconvenience when Karen took the last biscuit without asking. Post whatever you want and be happy that other people are doing it too.
5. I love learning
This is a phrase that university-me never would have said! Much like the above, once I found something that I’m passionate about I’ll do everything I can to learn as much as I can. I did it with rugby – I’d stay up late researching the rules, positions & techniques, and would study the world class players and what made them great. Same goes for nutrition and exercise. My late nights pretty much always stem from me getting carried away reading a paper, or listening to a podcast (and making notes on it ofc lol).
6. Gratitude goes a long way.
Be thankful for what you have and where you are, wherever that me be. Be thankful for the tiniest of things – the health you have, the pal you can chat to, the delicious chocolate bar you just ate. Be thankful.
7. It’s okay to be proud of yourself.
Step back and look how far you’ve come. Give yourself a pat on the back every now and then. Being proud of yourself doesn’t make you arrogant, it makes you appreciate and motivate you even more.
8. Open up about how you feel, and you’ll be able to deal with those feelings much easier.
Whether it’s face to face or over a stupidly long blog post on the internet (lol), getting those feelings out for someone to hear is powerful stuff. And chances are, there’s someone out there who feels or has previously felt exactly the same.
9. Instagram is a weird place…
And I don’t mean this in a necessarily good or bad way – it’s a bit of both. My lil following are wonderfully supportive, and I’ve def had unexpected deep chats with people I’ve never met. I mean I’ve even shared on-going poo tips with someone who was equally suffering from constipation following surgery 😂 where else could you cheer on a complete stranger for their first poo in a week?!
Instagram does get a lot of bad press for being an unrealistic showreel that gives out constant false or misleading information, and don’t get me wrong it definitely does. But the people I follow are all generally on the same wavelength. In fact, I’m not sure I would’ve chosen this career without Instagram. Sounds weird, but it’s what allowed me to explore my initial interest in nutrition and exercise. I’ve picked up hints and tips over the last few years from industry experts, and that’s where I found out about MNU. Where would I be without Instagram?!
But all that being said, it does have its downfalls. I mentioned that most people I follow are all on the same wavelength. I don’t follow any charlatans, pseudoscience, or fad dieters. But I do actually find it almost goes the other way on the odd occasion. For example, over Easter, my feed was full of post telling people to eat the damn Easter Egg – enjoy it, don’t massively restrict yourself or feel you need to work it off. I mean, this sounds great, right? This is the stuff I believe in. I’m lucky that I don’t follow any bullshitters who would say otherwise, but I actually think it had a slightly negative effect on me.
I’ve never really been one to ‘binge’ eat, or in this case, eat a whole Easter egg in one sitting. I’ve literally always savoured my choc/sweets, not because I fear what would happen if I did, but I’d just rather give myself a little bit every day so I get maximum pleasure out of it. Heck I used to hide my sweets in my BabyBorn wardrobe for MONTHS, so my brother wouldn’t eat them! But for some reason this Easter, I felt like I had to smash an Easter egg on Easter Sunday, because that’s what I’d seen all over my IG. And what made it worse, my only Easter egg was a Dairy Milk one which I couldn’t really even eat cos of the lactose! (Lol it was from work – the token vegan in the office got given a dairy free egg but I was forgotten about so got a dairy containing one. I mean obvs I was grateful but you can’t not feel a little hurt when you get forgotten about). Anyway, I remember feeling like I should eat it anyway cos it was Easter and “that’s what you’re meant to do on Easter Sunday” – I ended up eating some of it because that’s what all my feed was telling me, and obvs I ended up pain for the next three hours lol. I was definitely hugely influenced by Instagram to make that decision to eat a load of chocolate, despite it never being something I would usually do. And I guess the fact that I chose to eat an egg that’d hurt my tum was even more stupid lol.
The same goes for training over Christmas. If you want to train over Christmas or track what you eat, then great. Equally if you want to eat what you fancy and take a break from training, that’s also great – just don’t do it because Instagram is telling you to.
So I guess this lesson is that Instagram can be a hugely positive place, but to remember that not everything is relevant to you, and it is so easy to be swayed by what Instagram is telling you, even if it is someone posting it that you respect and appreciate their posts. Thankfully I can confirm I haven’t done anything of the sort since the Easter incident.
10. I still love writing
I write these blogs because I love it. Having worked in digital marketing for a few years I know what makes a good blog, and I have absolutely no intention of doing most of those things! I love the writing process itself – I’m not about the layout, the pictures, or the SEO that gets more people to read it, I’m just about the words. I simply write these blogs because I love it, not because I think other people will love it.
10. Dogs are bloody great.
(I already knew this but they really are).
11. Investing both money and time into your health is invaluable
Think it is safe to say that I have spent a large proportion of my income over the last year on health related stuff. From numerous physio appointments to PT and MRIs, I simply decided it is all worth it. I may mean I haven’t had the extra cash to treat to a few bits and bobs or a holiday, but ultimately it is so worth it. The number of hours i’ve spent in the gym rehabbing injuries or generally just getting strong has definitely paid off, and I genuinely love it.
I guess this has become even more important given my new job status, but I’ve learnt that it is SO important to put your health, be it physical or mental above anything else.
12. I can now (thankfully) tolerate a decent amount of lactose.
(NB: A bowl of fresh dairy ice cream exceeds ‘a decent amount of lactose’).
13. Good food still makes me so happy.
14. Admitting you’re wrong is brave but so important
Honesty is pretty much always the best policy. And I’m talking about in everything, whether it be tiny mistakes made in everyday life, in the workplace or just forgetting to do something – if you forget you forget, no point making excuses. In fact, no point making excuses full-stop. And while you’re at it, call yourself out on your own bullshit. Tell yourself you’re wrong and an idiot for eating an Easter Egg just because Instagram told you to.
15. Copenhagen is a beautiful city.
16. Taking a step away from something you loved is okay
So I guess this follows on from my last blog. Having gone to pretty much every single rugby training session I could for about 6 years straight, I decided it was time to take a step away. I started to get anxious going to training, and even started to fear it. And this in itself made it even worse because it was a feeling I was not used to – I’d always loved rugby so why did it make me feel like this?
I decided to take a step away and haven’t been to training for the last two or three months, and it has definitely helped. I went to watch my team play the other day (fair dos I was with a friend the whole time so wasn’t completely fixated on what was happening in front of me), but didn’t feel anxious watching at all. I’ve even started watching more on TV again. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to watch it on TV, but I just didn’t really care as much as I used to. But since stepping back from the rugby closest to me, I’ve started to remember how much I do love watching the game on whatever level.
I still don’t know when/if I’ll play again, but I think I’m on my way out of this rugby rut. I’d still absolutely love to play again, but equally have accepted that if my bod can’t cope, it can’t cope and there isn’t anything I can do about it. But for now, I’m still keen to get back to it whenever that may be.
17. I will always love routine
I’m legit a completely different person without routine. I simply wouldn’t get anything done. Since living the self-employed life I’ve had to put some structure into my day no matter what I’ve got on that day. I just thrive off routine – it makes me more organised, more productive and makes me feel better! Even when I was off work for 8 weeks with the noodle, I planned my days by hour so I wouldn’t waste my day. I love routine and it will always work for me.
18. Living on my own has made me weird af
I’ve always been comfortable being myself at home or around my friends. By honestly since moving into a house on my own I’ve become even more weird lol. Need to get my leggings off the dryer? I’ll run across the landing. But it’s not a normal run, it’s that run/gallop on your toes where you don’t really move your arms? Anyone else? Nah? Cool.
I’ll happily dance around my room listening to music. And when I say dance, it ain’t dancing, no one could call it dancing. And it’s even better when I dance in front of the mirror – I legit find myself hysterical but it’s also a huge amount of fun and weirdly liberating.
I’ve also started talking out loud. Full on talking to myself. Great.
19. You. Do. You.