Are you ready to make changes in your life? Has the thought of change ever crossed your mind? What could you work on? Where do you even begin?
Welcome to my first blog. I assure you that this is important to me and that this will grow as I become more comfortable with the dedication and consistency of writing a blog. Dedication and consistency, two very important things that should be behind every intentional thing we do, but we will get to this in more detail a little later.
For the past 3 years, I have been on a journey of self discovery and personal development. This journey has not been easy, but before I get into the reason I am here and the benefits I hope to present to you in this blog, we all have different experiences and backgrounds that have led to where we are at in our lives. There are no two identical situations and while some things may appear to be the same, we all understand and absorb things differently. It is important to take the parts of everything you read and hear that apply to you, in your current situation, and use them the best way you can. In the beginning, you may not know how to differentiate and apply what you hear or read but it will come. I will share as much as I can from how I went from a very unhealthy, cynical, depressed, unmotivated, and unappreciative person to someone that not only celebrates my own achievements, both big and small, encourages and facilitates my family to come along with me and has become one of the biggest cheerleaders for those around me.
I am 39 years old; I have been married for 13 years, I have 3 children under 10 years old and for 20 years, I have worked both as a Construction and Maintenance Electrician and as a Volunteer Firefighter. I have experienced many ups and downs in all of these areas and have shared many successes and failures, as we all can relate, I am sure. I will get into the specifics of my experiences and how it relates to the topic as it is relevant but for the beginning of this blog, it is important to understand what may have led me to where I found myself at the end of 2020.
Never have I felt that I could talk about what has bothered me. I have people around me that care about me and I don’t mean in a day-to-day or moment-to-moment perspective, but overall. If I was feeling down about something, insecure, vulnerable, upset, weak, etc. I didn’t know how to approach it in a progressive way, so I would automatically go to what I was used to and either hold everything in or release in more negative and angry ways. While I knew this was something I should work on, I never felt like I could ask for help. It was always expected, as far as I knew, that to be a man, I had to simply just “suck it up” and “fix it myself.” This followed me forever and it was all I knew, but how could I fix it if I didn’t know how, and I couldn’t ask for help. This had become a major black hole for me as I simply just pushed it further and further away, doing nothing about it.
I have spent most of my life overweight. Regarding my weight and how it has affected me, I have my share of experiences that have likely added to the anxiety and self consciousness that I have felt on a consistent basis, and I will share them as they are required. Despite having tried many diets, mostly in secret or self-directed as my confidence was considerably low, I maintained a healthy “yo-yo” diet cycle over the years. I would do well for awhile and be healthier, start wearing smaller clothes and build more confidence and then something would happen, as it most always does. I would then find myself all the way back to where I was. Often heavier than before. This is exactly how most diets work and the “yo-yo” effect is well known among struggling overweight people. In the final days of 2020, I found myself at nearly 320lbs and the heaviest I had ever been. Feeling miserable about my weight only made my entire mindset that much worse and I knew it. Somehow, in this moment I felt like I was the victim. That somehow this had happened TO me, and it was someone else’s fault. That I lived in this negative head space that couldn’t be fixed. That “this is just who I am.” This became my favourite excuse when I talked down about something, avoided uncomfortable conversations or when I defended anything I did in this point of my life. It made it all easier. “This is just who I am,” as I ate another cookie, binged another tv show, avoided playing with my kids, negatively influenced work and the fire department, and maintained the routine I had as I waited for someone or something to come sweeping into my life to fix it.
How many of us can relate to this? How many of us are waiting for our situations to fix themselves or for some magic solution?
I hope that I am not telling you this for this first time but there is nobody coming, there is no magic potion and there is no quick solution. The problem is that you have likely missed all of the signs and opportunities that have been around you the whole time, as you dwell negatively on yourself. I sure did! I expect that if you are like me, where I was, you didn’t know what to do or how to get started either. It can be a lot to think about a substantial weight loss, an entire career change, or a complete identity shift. The ‘mountain’ before us, whatever that may be for you, seems so enormous that even with some positive motivation and momentum, we meet an obstacle and slide back down the mountain. From the bottom, somehow, we look up and see a much larger mountain and lose all momentum. “I am not ready yet,” I’ll try another time,” “I’ll start again on Monday.”
But we don’t, do we?
Starting January 2021, I decided to remove things from my life that were holding me back. I needed this attempt to be different and I was starting on this mountain with at least an open mind that might just help me get past that first obstacle. My first item that I removed was my toxic relationship with my habits and routines around drinking alcohol. I will come back to this quite often as it is the background to my entire story, the baseline for my branding and my true catalyst for change. At the time of this writing, I have shared many different areas of this story from the Toxic Masculinity around my upbringing and areas of work to the recovery and addiction elements of removing this substance from my life. It was something that I felt I needed, and I relied on in almost every situation or experience I had. There is so much of my story and experience that speaks to a wide audience, and I have been on over 30 podcasts, radio shows and television interviews sharing this experience. I have also shared the first and most important year in my book called, Going Dry – My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking. This self-published book was created from the actual journal I kept while I went from this overweight, negative person to someone that accepted their situation and worked on creating change, one small step at a time.
One small step at a time.
Most of the things we do every day come naturally to us as a part of the habits and routines that we have created for ourselves. Our brain is such an amazing and helpful part of us that it has even found the easiest ways for us to do these things. It is with dedication and consistency that we can work on programming ourselves to ensure that our brain doesn’t set us up for failure. It will tell us that we can eat another cookie, binge another tv show and avoid playing with our kids because it is the easier thing to do. It is much easier to stay in your lane, keep doing what we are doing than it is to get up, go for a walk, read a book, and change our lives. And without dedication and consistency, we slide back down the mountain and tell ourselves that we will just try again later.
I am constantly working on myself and working to set a better example for me and my family than I ever thought I could have in my old mindset. It is in this work and constant progression that I encourage you to come with me. Think about the things that may be holding you back and limiting your progression as you walk this journey with me, one step at a time. As James Clear outlines in his book Atomic Habits, and how many other habit researchers have expressed, we need to focus on small steps to get big results. We need to focus less on the pressure of doing massive things, so we don’t fail. This is equally important for the mental side of our push to create and work towards our goals. Do not think and stress about climbing the mountain or running the marathon, but first teach yourself to first take one step then walk then run.
Before trying to take the first step, lets just focus on the hardest part of the journey and just put your shoes on.
You can do it!