Tag Archives: resolutions

Heart Surgery To Ironman – The Next Chapter

3 Jan

So then new year has finally arrived – for me, 2011 signals the continuation on a journey to the ultimate physical and mental challenge of an Ironman. Reminiscing about 2010 today has made me realise the strength I gained from a trying year inspite of the obstacle of being diagnosed with a heart condition. The experience has made me even more grateful for the ability to exercise and the excitement of entering races to push my physical boundaries.

I started 2010 bursting with enthusiasm for exercise and had entered many races; running and triathlon. I was enjoying being part of the local triathlon club, had huge plans for new business and generally felt great…apart from a few nagging symptoms. I had been to see my doctor on new year’s eve as something told me that was a serious condition underlying. Lucky that I did as 2 weeks later, I was diagnosed with a hole in the heart. On new year’s day 2011, I sat discussing that year that has passed and tried to pinpoint the positive parts that stood out. I identified moving house, employing a first member of staff, enjoying having family over in the summer, signing up to a coaching course. I was a little sad to not have achieved the sporting and business aims I had set out in January 2010.

Aims from last year are now being carried over to 2011, with an added few, including a half Ironman in September. My journey to Ironman is not only following heart surgery but  also as a novice triathlete. I had just a year of training in the 3 disciplines before doctors told me to stop all exercise. This was a frustrating time, leaving me feeling helpless. My focus on the future kept me going, as it does now. When I lack the motivation to run, bike or swim, I imagine myself back in the hospital speaking to the consultant who told me my heart was failing. The previous day I had run 16 miles!

Speaking of heart failure, my grandfather has recently been diagnosed with this condition after a history of angina, heart attacks and coronary artery bypasses. We share stories of scans and consultant visits , laughing about the similarities. Coronary heart disease is all around and this makes me passionate about spreading the message about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The cardiac history in my family has always been a concern to me, and maybe was one of the reasons I started running regularly. When studying to be a nurse, I chose to write  my dissertation on cardiac rehabilitation and found it amusing that I ended up attending these classes myself, age 27!

Now that 2011 is here, the long term goal of an Ironman in 2012 feels that much closer. I just can’t wait!!

Happy New Year! :)

Prioritising Daily Tasks

19 Feb

How to separate the tasks in daily life into ‘Urgent’ and ‘Important’.

One of my major frustrations in life is not achieving all I’d like to in 24 hours. This is one of the reasons I spend a lot of time writing lists, working into the early hours of the morning, or ‘having words with myself’ for not reaching my targets for the day. Does this sound familiar?

Over the last few years, I have read the work of many authors on topics on self help, earning money, the secrets to success etc. One underlying theme is how to motivate yourself, make a plan and implement this plan. Action, not procrastination is what is required to achieve anything in life, be it aerobic fitness, a toned body, mental well-being, weight loss, specific life goals or financial rewards.

Keep a Diary

How I go about achiving my long list of ‘new year resolutions’ is to use a daily, weekly, monthly and annual strategy. I keep a separate diary purely for noting these strategies.

Commit to writing a list of aims for the year

Commitment is required to firstly make a list of what is most important to you. From this list, you can work out achievement dates by which you can tick each item off over the year. Then, each month, you can review your progress and make the necessary improvements. Weekly, you can keep a tally of what you have done to achieve  your overall life aims and daily, you can have a ‘to do’ list that is subsinct and relevant.

Break down aims into managable tasks

Some of your life aims may seem dream-like, impossible to achieve. By breaking down a dream into monthly, weekly and daily tasks, each step appears less daunting. How does a person go from a ten minute jog to completing 26.2 miles in a marathon? Run by run, week by week, commitment to a training plan and motivated by the desire to achieve a momentous life goal.

To give you an example of a year’s strategy, here are my aims for 2010 (as listed on 1st January):

  •  A specific profit in my business by helping others
  • Run the London Marathon in Sub 4 hours
  • Complete 3 triathlons
  • Have my teeth whitened
  • Commit to triathlon club sessions weekly
  • Run on the track twice a month
  • Run a local 5k, 10k and half marathon
  • Swim twice weekly until April, then 3-4 times a week during Spring/Summer
  • Attend triathlon club swim once a month
  • Improve confidence in open water swimming by going to group sessions
  • Turbo train on my road bike twice weekly until April then 4 cycle sessions during tri season
  • Become confident using SPD pedals by riding in a group and with Damon
  • Try cross country skiing and / or go rollerskiing again to improve technique
  • Have a summer break to escape work / the business and to relax
  • Have a sports massage as often as necessary
  • Buy a new car, ideally a Range Rover or VW Transporter van
  • Begin my lifecoach qualification and study

This may appear a long list of objections, some may be easy to achieve, some may fall by the wayside. This does not matter. All that is important when creating a list is considering what is most important to you at your current stage in life. It may seem that my aims are very biased to my sport and fitness goals, however, this is what is important to me now, at the age of 27, when I have no commitments other than being successful in all I do. You may notice my aims are quantifiable – all have a specific number involved. This helps to keep aims in focus, disallowing broad, sweeping statements such as ‘I want to get fit’, ‘I want to lose weight’, ‘I would like to be happier’. The alternatives to these sweeping statements would be, ‘I aim to run a 5k by June’, ‘Lose 10lbs by September’, ‘Enrol on a self-confidence course and dedicate 2 hours a week to recording my progress’.

What would truly make you happy if you achieved it all within a year? I can honestly say I had the best year of my life in 2009, I achieved nearly all of my objectives. Here’s how.

Urgent Versus Important

 Break down your daily tasks into these headings, either first thing in the morning, or last thing at night when planning the following day. These daily tasks include anything work related, any exercise you have planned in, any time working towards your year goals.

Urgent – these are tasks that HAVE to be done, for example, sending that email to a client, speaking to your boss about an appraisal, taking the kids to their swimming lesson, eating, sleeping, a half-hearted gym session with a friend. These tasks take over our daily life, making us feel eternally busy, ever-tired.

Important - these tasks are ESSENTIAL when working towards your annual aims. Examples in my life include: writing this blog, drafting ideas for a future business for an hour, writing an email or letter that you have been putting off, attending an exercise session and giving your all, signing up for a race and commiting to it, creating a healthy eating or exercise plan for the week, booking an important appointment such as beauty, dentist, physiotherapist. If you had all the time in the world to purely focus on your life goals, what would you do? Ask yourself this and jot down a few answers. During this week, allocate some of these tasks into your daily routine. By prioritising, nobody is too busy to achieve in life, everybody, at some point, uses excuses to hide from  or justify a lack of success.

Without constant monitoring, it is very easy to give all our attention to urgent tasks. To achieve our ambitions, the emphasis must be on completing the important jobs. The urgent tasks will always be there but it is the important jobs that will make the difference in your life.

In summary, when prioritising your daily task, make sure you choose important tasks over urgent. This will enable you to slowly but surely achieve all you desire.