Back in 2016, I decided to get involved in Wellington’s Round the Bays. A group of people were taking part to improve their fitness, and I also had set a goal to try to be healthier by getting active at least once a week. Inevitably, when I started it was more about participation than really setting any firm goals. In November 2016, I definitely got more serious, I was at a point in life where I didn’t know what was next, work and health-wise. By Feb 2017 I was starting to feel a bit fitter and healthier and I was walking 5km every day. So, when I took part in RTB in 2017 I wanted to beat my time. Throughout last year I continued walking but by August/September I’d decided walking wasn’t going to cut it this year, so I stepped up the intensity and began jogging.
When I started jogging I first aimed for 500m, then 1km, then 2km, and then once I was able to feel comfortable at this level I upped it to 3-5km. In the last 6 weeks before the race I’ve been running 6.5km-7km every day. I also started interval running – 5 on, 5 off – and was able to extend that.
What began as a desire to be fitter, has turned into a real journey of transformation. I definitely feel more agile, I’ve changed my eating habits to better fuel my fitness, and as an added benefit have lost 50+kg along the way.
I was on such a high after the event on Sunday that I’ve already booked tickets and race registration to take part in the Christchurch 10km on the 3rd of June!
While the original fitness group has gone their separate ways over time, I’ve found I like to walk to the beat of my own drum and to set my own pace as well. I ran into one of the guys I’d initially started walking with and was telling him about my fitness and health progress, and he was like “whoa!” – he couldn’t believe how far I’d come, and he also hardly recognised me! I’m pleased to say that he also drew on the health advice I gave him and signed up again to take part in the event at the weekend and has shown a renewed commitment to his fitness and health. While it’s great to be inspired by other people and to support others – I’ve found the biggest thing to remember is that there really is no magic wand – and over 80%, I believe, of your success will come from mindset (your self-determination, motivation and self-control) and if you can get your mind in check the rest will follow, personally and through your work! For me, I know that having a big goal, and then setting smaller, more realistic, achievable goals works. Both elements are important.
Since I’ve improved my fitness, lost weight and become more athletic, I’ve had a few people ask for advice along the way. One example is a person who told me they wanted to lose 30kg in 6 months – while that is an ambitious goal, I told them to forget about that, and to start with the first milestone instead, lose 5kg in 2 months, then another 5kg and so on … this is a much more doable approach. ‘Break it down’ is my motto. You have to take the smaller steps to get to that bigger goal, things don’t just happen because you want them to.
My approach doesn’t just apply to my fitness journey either. To give you an example, in my Health & Safety role I’m always looking for my next course to do; to keep moving forward in line with my overall objectives of being well-informed, up-to-date with the best practices, and improving my expertise and qualifications.
It’s a similar approach if you’re looking for your dream permanent job – you don’t say, “I want to be a carpenter,” and whoosh, you’re a carpenter as if someone had waved a magic wand. Think about the paths that are available to you that can help you build towards your goals. For example, temping can be a good way to help you incrementally reach your overall career goals. You get a foot in the door and an opportunity to hone your skills, which adds up to a higher likelihood of getting further in your career, you never know who you are going to meet along the way and the opportunities that could flow through.
While we can help people into work by matching them with great opportunities and employers, ultimately each individual needs to demonstrate they are reliable and have a fire in their belly, and this stems from their own sense of purpose – are they working for a greater career objective? Are they motivated to feed their families through their hard work and dedication? Are they motivated by money? Are they working in a labouring role because they want to work outdoors and keep up their own fitness?
To use another example, we had an overseas worker desperate to come to NZ and provide for his family back home, send his daughter to a good school and welcome more opportunities for his family. He travelled 3 hours by plane and 8 hours by bus just to get to a testing interview in the hope he would be accepted, even though acceptance was not guaranteed. That is how much determination he had to give his family a more comfortable life, even if it meant living and working in a different country to them. Good news, he was accepted and now works here in NZ.
If you have a big goal, in work or life, ask yourself: are you putting in the work to get there? We all have our days where the answer to that question will be no, but nothing worthwhile comes easy. What do I do to keep motivated on challenging days? Every day is a challenge, but I have a bigger objective with the small steps I take each day; even just going out for that jog in the evening, when I really don’t want to can be a small, daily achievable goal. As long as I can get through a day and a week and look back and know I achieved something, then I feel I am continuing forward. No excuses, the buck stops with me! Going back to my Chch event – there’s no going back now I’ve signed up, and I have no choice but to put in the work!
People who know me now can’t believe it when they find out about my journey to fitness and see the photographic evidence! Yet mine is just one story. Think about all the people you interact with on a daily basis – you don’t know what someone has gone through to get to where they are today.
It also helps a lot to have people supporting and encouraging you, along the way find people who will ‘have your back’ support you in the good times, and the bad, and help your own journey to move forward; my parents have been paramount to my journey. My brother and sister both took part in this weekend’s event, and RobLawMax’s own Victoria Young will be joining in the fun as we both take part in an event each at the Kapiti Women’s Triathalont his coming weekend!
What small steps can you take today towards your big goal?