Let’s change things up a bit, instead of telling you my weekly highlights which are typically related to the adventures I go on, I thought I’d take an introspective approach to my final weekly of 2018. At new years eve last year, a few of my friends and I sat down around a table at a Chinese restaurant and discussed some of our goals for the upcoming year. I wanted to continue to pursue my travels and get better at running, but I never thought this year would unravel the way it did. It well and truly exceeded anything I could have conjured up in my imagination around the table that night. With the year coming to a close, I’ve taken a few moments here and there whilst on runs, sitting in the car, eating smoothie bowls or watching sunsets to think about moments, events, actions or experiences that altered my perspective in 2018.
At the start of the year and when I started this blog, my overacting goal for the year was to be consistent. In 2017, I would be hyperactive for months at a time and then crash and lose track of all my productivity. I didn’t want to repeat this in 2018 so I said to myself I would start off by implementing consistently with my running, writing and photography. This would mean I’d run at least 50kms a week, put out a weekly blog post and be open to see what would grow from there.
I am sure that the consistency I had implement into my life was primary reason that allowed me to be apart of so many incredible experiences this year. For example, by March I had gone from running 50km a week to training for an ultra marathon. I didn’t start the year with the goal to run an ultra marathon, but due to the fact that I was running 50km weekly, I gave myself the chance to be able to give myself a chance to be a part of and complete such a gruelling race.
2. “It’s not that simple…If you just do the thing that they tell you you can’t, then it’s done, and it is that simple.”
Completing the Bali-Hope Ultra Marathon was one of the best things I’ve ever done for a multitude of reasons. There was a side of doing an ultra marathon that only I was able to see and experience, people’s reactions. A common response I would receive when I told people I was doing an ultra marathon was “You’re crazy”. I would get this time after time and other people would straight out tell me that I couldn’t do it. Weeks before the race I even had close friends call me and tell me that it wasn’t worth doing, that I would be putting my body through too much trauma. When I signed up for the ultra, I made up my mind that I was going to do it and that nothing would stop me.
I soon began to understand the ‘You’re crazy’ mindset that people would throw upon me. I believe they would say it because it is something that they couldn’t comprehend themselves, and as a collective we pass ideas/experiences off as crazy if we can’t make sense of it ourselves. Over time these comments become entrenched in society and it soon starts to effect our own actions and beliefs.
After doing the ultra marathon, I started to put other re-evaluate what I thought was possible. Even things I thought were once thought ‘crazy’, I now began to understand how people could do them. It’s when we so something that we’ve always told ourselves was so hard, that it really isn’t once we do it. It may hurt and nearly break us at times, but we can do it.
Click here to watch my favourite scene of this quote from Bleed For this.
3. You have to be in the moment, not your mind.
After two years of developing an idea in my mind and finally having the opportunity to act on it, I was very excited about how it would unravel. Or at least, I was excited for how my mind and imagination wanted it to unravel. I’d locked myself in for three weeks and after a few days, I found myself in a tough situation. It was tough because, on paper, everything looked great. I was in a magnificent part of the world, staying in a great place yet the things I couldn’t control were controlling me. In my head, I’d romanticised ideas that were far from reality and had to accept that this wasn’t the case. It was a shift in perspective that put me back in a place where I was content. I started concerning myself with the things I did have control over and put myself back in the moment more than the ideas that whirled around my mind.
4. Do things earlier than you envisioned.
It’s simple. At the start of the year, I wrote down on my list of goals, “Complete a marathon within in the next 10 years.”
By May, I’d completed an ultra-marathon. Within 6 months of 2018, I’d done something bigger than what I wanted to do within the next 10 years. Since then, I’ve already put marathons on the calendar for this year and will be looking to do many more. Dive in earlier, you’ll be better off than hesitating.
5. Be micro-goal orientated.
Similar to consistency, having smaller goals is so much more effective than big ones. Don’t get me wrong, big goals are wonderfully exciting but they can also be a big weight to carry. Big goals can be easy to hide behind because they are so far away. Big goals sound impressive but they are easy to pass off into the ‘eventually’ or ‘one-day’ category. By setting smaller goals, they are easier to attack and tick off. Soon enough they’ll compile upon each other and eventually, the ‘big goal’ is a lot closer and less intimidating than first imagined.
6. Don’t take things personally.
Other people’s motivations and feelings are not a reflection of yourself, don’t take it personally.
7. A feedback loop is far better than perfection.
Create, create, create. You’re going to learn a lot more from creating than perfecting. What you learn from putting something out into the world is far more valuable than if you hold off trying to perfect something. For me, examples of this were my book and blog. By creating both of these, I’ve learned infinite amounts more than what I would have if I was still here trying to perfect them both.
8. You have so much time available to better yourself.
In the second half of the year, I started listening to more podcasts as opposed to music. There will never be a limit on how much we can learn and in turn, open our minds. For everything we know, there is another way to do it. I found myself being able to engage in a lot more topics of conversation and open to new ideas from listening to podcasts. As someone who loves a good conversation, podcasts were so accessible and enjoyable to listen to no matter where I found myself.
9. Genuine Human Connection.
Make more time for it. If you’re sitting in front of someone new, ask them a question. Find out what makes them tick, what they love or even what they had for breakfast. If you have to be the first one to open up, do it. I find it baffling how we can sit in front of someone we have never met before and not have any urge to find out even just a little about them considering they have lived an entirely different life and set of circumstances to our own. They don’t need to be your best friend, but you can learn something from everyone. You might even make their day!
10. Go places where you thought you wouldn’t.
I went to Colombia. Going to Colombia certainly wasn’t on my radar, but I’ll tell you now, it’s one of the best places I’ve ever been. Go places where you haven’t seen photos of and know nothing about, you’ll gain new experiences and fun stories that you’ll talk about for a long time.
11. Travel slower.
Stay in one place for 100 days rather than go to 100 places for one day. Travelling doesn’t need to be some kind of competition or oversized checklist, rather it’s about learning to live in a way you haven’t before. Personally, I enjoy knowing every street of the town or road to the beach, and the owners of the local cafe instead of just seeing the main attraction. Staying longer, you learn more about a place and the people that occupy than what you could just read off google. You get to feel the magic for yourself and be slowly be apart of a community.
12. Offer a skill.
Being able to offer a skill for something in return is incredibly useful. Life’s a two-way street if you can provide value for someone, more often than not, they’ll be willing to help you out too. For me this was photography, sometimes it was photos for food, other times it was accommodation. When you travel on a tight budget, it’s great to be able to help someone out that might be able to help you.
13. Communication is essential. Transparency is key.
Don’t make assumptions. You can’t read people’s minds and they can’t read yours. Whether it be your personal life or in business, put it all out on the table. Leave no room for guessing and allow others to make their decisions from there.
14. Be accountable.
I’m not sure where I heard it or read it, but accountability became a reoccurring theme of 2018. I decided to be accountable for all things that went right in my life and all things went wrong. When things go wrong, instead of passing the blame or complaining, I found it far better to put the fire out myself. If there was an issue that needed to be solved, I’d take it upon myself to follow up instead of waiting for the situation to drag on. On the flip side, it’s incredibly uplifting to know that you achieved the things are a direct result from your own hard work and persistence.
15. A group with the same goal can create massive change.
To be surrounded by a group of driven, like-minded people creates incredibly beautiful energy. During the week of the Ultra-Marathon in Bali, I felt like I could solve world hunger. Not a word of negativity was spoken, and everyone was there to either finish the race, help the runners finish the race and hit the fundraising target. Although we were from every corner of the globe, the united belief of the group was infectious. Moral of the story, I urge you to find, enter or be a part of a group that is driven to make a positive change. At the very least, it’ll be sure to open your mind.
MY PERSPECTIVES WHICH WERE REFRESHED.
16. Appreciate the small things, “The One Percenters”.
Some of my best memories from this year were not from the big hikes or crazy events that I did. It was things like running through the rain on the side of the road in Colombia, with fireflies flickering on the roadside. It was the dog that followed/guided us all the way to the top of a hike and waited with us till we went down. It was the stranger that lent me keys to their house when I had nowhere to stay in Finland.
The small moments and seemingly little details of your year, cherish them.
17. No matter where you are in the world, you can find beauty.
Carry with you a positive disposition, no matter the circumstance or where you find yourself, you can find beauty in nature and people that surround you. I found myself in a small town in France last year, it wasn’t near the ocean and it was a very quiet, lackluster, old French town that operated with seemingly little structure. It was challenging, but when I went and embraced what was there, I found my days to be far more enjoyable.
18. Take More Risks.
This will be a goal of mine again this year. When I feel like I’m getting comfortable, I must remember the importance of continually adding variety and challenges to my life. Furthermore, to take more risks but back myself in no matter the circumstance is where growth comes arises.
19. You need less than you think.
This year I had the least amount of money in my bank account but I did, saw and achieved the most I have ever. If you have to live frugally, so be it. Experiences > money.
20. Do things for you.
Don’t go and do things because someone else said you should, or because it might make them happy – go and do things for you. Life is far too short to be doing otherwise. Ignore judgment or if others might feel let down, you are the number one priority. Look after yourself first and you will look after others better as a result.
Similarly, do things that make you buzz. Your mental health and mindset is your greatest asset, so protect it and nourish it.
That’s a wrap. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your goals for the upcoming year. I have a feeling it’s going to be a big one and I have some exciting news to announce in the upcoming weeks.
You get what you prioritise, so if you don’t get what you want, you better re-order your priorities. – JL