2013 – Year in Review & The 7 Things That Have Changed My Life

It’s 8:49pm on Tuesday 31st December 2013 as I begin to write this, having just zero’d both my inboxes for the first time in *months*, to ensure I begin 2014 the way I want to continue.

Perhaps I should be out partying. Some of my closest friends being away has made it easier to make “having a chilled night in,” as my response to the numerous people who have asked what my plans are for this evening over the past few days.

It has definitely made me feel uncomfortable, maybe even a little embarrassed.

However, I think 2013 has been the biggest ever year for me from a personal growth standpoint. A huge part of that has been doing things that make me feel uncomfortable and that, traditionally, a younger me might never have done.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go to get away from playing it safe all the time, but steps in the right direction have been made.

Taking time to sit down and reflect on the past 12 months is something that was important for me to make time for, and I’m happy to be spending my New Years Eve doing exactly that.

It has been a whirlwind year; Hoopsfix has continued to grow, the month of May marked 1 year since I quit my job to go full time on my own endeavours, financially things really perked up towards the end of the year (though still far from where I want to be), I got to travel (Spain, France, Italy, and the US), build new relationships, grow existing relationships, and my health has been the best it has been in years.

By far, the biggest thing that has impacted my year is having a morning routine. Seven things I now do religiously every single day set me up for the perfectly for what is ahead, and I now wonder how I ever survived without them.

These seven things are as follows;

1) Getting Up Early

I used to get up early, I was always a morning person when I was at school, college and university. At one point, when deep in my training, I would get up at 5am, eat, go back to sleep, then up at 6 to head straight to the gym.

Since graduating however, this work ethic somehow left me. Don’t get me wrong, I would still wake up at 7/8 everyday, but there was part of me that felt I was missing something.

I made the decision to start rising at 5am. Easily the best decision I have made in a long time. There’s something about the early morning; peace, serenity, and the ability to get things done without distraction whilst the rest of the world sleeps.

By the time it gets to 8-9am every day, I have now done what would normally have taken me the end of the day!

2) Meditation

Growing up I never understood meditation – it was just one of those things hippies, like my dad, did. I had no interest in it whatsoever.

However, this year it kept on cropping up; a lot of the entrepreneurs I follow were advocating it, so I figured what was there to lose?

I began with just five minutes (I was amazed at how hard it was to try to remain thoughtless and still for such a short period of time!), and now meditate for at least 15 minutes everyday.

It has led to me feeling clear-headed to begin the day, giving me greater clarity of thought during the day, and also made me far more self-aware.

3) Having Gratitude

Taking anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes a day to reflect on all the things I have in my life to be grateful for has been a huge game changer for me.

You know how hard it is to feel shitty about anything when you’re acutely aware of everything that you have to be thankful for?

I have a list of things that I’m grateful for pinned on my wall that I will read every day as a bare minimum for my gratitude practice.

Ranging from having fresh air to breathe, to being able to do what I love everyday, it makes you realise just how great it is to be alive.

4) Exercise

I began running at the start of this year, then in November started weight training again, and just a month or so ago, began doing yoga.

All three have made me feel great and no doubt led to greater productivity.

5) Reading

Reading and podcasts (see below) have been a game-changer for me this year. I’ve always read, but been very blase and un-regimented about it.

I have started reading for a minimum of 1 hour every day. It means I can get through at least a book a week, and am expanding my knowledge/learning constantly.

I invested in a Kindle, and now, when I see a book I want to read I immediately buy it straight on there so I have a growing library and never run out of things to read.

6) Podcasts

In similar fashion to meditating, a few years ago I just didn’t get podcasts. It wasn’t something that appealed to me, at all.

I don’t even know what inspired me to check ’em out, but now I will listen to at least half an hour of podcasts every day. They are constantly expanding my knowledge, and teaching me things I can apply to my every day life.

My favourites include Mixergy, Starting from Nothing, London Real, Silicon Real, Bulletproof Executive Radio, Foundation, and The Fizzle Show.

I will listen to them everyday whilst I am…

7) Cooking

Pre-preparing all my meals for the day has been amazing to ensure I am always getting the proper nutrition my body needs to perform optimally.

I’ll spend half an hour to 40 minutes making my food (whilst listening to a podcast!), putting it in tupperware ready for the day.

It means I never end up eating crap if I go out and about, and can stick to my training regime.

I am looking forward to the coming year, with a number of exciting projects in the pipeline, and one of the things I am determined to do is to update this blog on a much more frequent basis so that I can track my journey whilst also use it as a tool to hold myself accountable.

Let’s see what happens…

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