2014 in Review: Wins, Losses, Lessons and Looking Ahead
Warning: This is a long post, but it’ll be good.
It’s 5:28 a.m. and I’m at the coffee shop…again.
This was the theme of many of my mornings – working on this project or that project.
When you go through each day working on one thing or another t it can seem like you aren’t making much progress. Lo and behold, after hours, days, weeks or even months spent toiling on a project you finish! The feeling is amazing, but then it’s on to the next one. Why? Because you want to do more, accomplish more, reach more people and do more good.
At the end of the year you can look back at your wins, your losses and your plans for the next year – trying to make the next year even better than this one.
I always take some time to review how my year went and plan the next year a little, but this is the first time I’m doing a more extensive review and sharing it with anyone else. Why do this?
Partly, I’m doing it for me, to see what I’ve done and be able to look back at what happened. Partly, I’m doing it for you.
To be honest, I hope this post will inspire you to review your year, plan the next and ultimately influence you to create not only a better 2015, but a better life going forward. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I’m endlessly optimistic and if just one of you takes action because of reading this post it’s a success.
With all that being said, here’s my year in review!
What Went Well in 2014
These are some of the things I’m most proud of in 2014. Some of these I’ve been putting off for a long time and some of them I thought I’d never do. You can see my what didn’t go well later on, success habits, lessons I’ve learned and my plans for 2015 coming up.
- I published over 150 posts on my blog in 2014 alone. At the end of 2013 I started writing more, but in 2014 I took it up another notch and have developed a passion for writing (Something I never thought I’d say).
- I made it 100 days without eating sweets. The idea came from my own nutrition struggles and I’m so glad I was able to make it happen. I’ve never been lacking much confidence, but to show yourself you have the discipline to do something like this is great (Especially because I love eating sweets). Through the challenge I learned a lot and still use those lessons today.
- I joined my first mastermind group, the Todd Durkin Mastermind Institute, and it was such a great experience learning from other fitness professionals around the world. I took a break from it late in 2014, but will probably join again in 2015.
- I wrote my first ebook – Fat Loss Simplified: How to Exercise and Eat for Maximum Fat Loss, something I had put off for way too long. At first, I was somewhat hesitant to write it, thinking I didn’t have the credentials to do so, but throughout the last year I’ve learned this: If you know something that can help someone, you should share it. I knew that people would benefit from what I knew, so I wrote it and I’m glad I did.
- I was able to travel to Nashville and New York City for the first time, but also to the Twin Cities, the north woods of Wisconsin, Chicago and La Crosse. I picked up the travel bug a few years ago and since have loved seeing different places. Being able to travel, see old friends and make new ones has been an absolute blessing and I hope to do more of this in 2015.
- I completed my first endurance race, the Men’s Health Urbanathlon. By no means am I an endurance athlete. Growing up I played football, basketball and ran sprints in track, never any endurance events. Finishing the 10.6 mile Urbanathlon was an extremely proud fitness moment for me. I’m not sure how many more endurance races I’ll do, but it felt good to at least get one under my belt.
- I created my first online course (Long Term Fat Loss for Busy People). I first had the idea of creating an online course in 2013, but didn’t actually take action and get it done till the end of this year (The course comes out in early January, 2015). Through the power of the internet we are able to positively impact way more people than strictly in-person interactions and this course is how I plan on helping more people.
- My friends made big moves in their lives! My best friend Zach, an amazing piano player and music producer, created more than 50 YouTube videos, now has over 3,000 subscribers and is absolutely crushing it! My friend Tony, in his last football season, garnered all-conference honors. My friends Jesse and Vinny both landed personal training jobs at gyms that are rated top 10 gyms in America by Men’s Health – one in San Diego and one in New York City. Those are just a few examples and I could honestly go on and on about what all my friends are doing, but I’m unbelievably proud of them and truly inspired by what they are doing with their lives.
- I completed my first full year working at The Wisconsin Athletic Club and it was great to meet amazing, passionate, hilarious trainers and work with some pretty awesome clients!
- I finally created my own fitness show. In October of 2014 I put the first episode of The JustGo Show (Great name, I know) on YouTube. This was another project I put off for months! I’d wanted to do in early 2014, but hey, better late than never. I’ve since created 15 shows in about 2 months and plan on creating many more in 2015.
- 2014 was the year I finally was able to speak with other groups of people about health and fitness. In total I spoke for 4 different companies and had a great time doing it. This is something I’m definitely looking to do more of next year.
What Did Not Go Well in 2014
2014 was a year filled with many accomplishment for me, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my struggles. The following list contains some of my struggles and things that didn’t go so well for me in 2014.
- Dealing with back pain. I strained my back in summer and to this day is still not 100%. I haven’t been able to do very heavy deadlifts or squats, but it has gotten tremendously better. However, after it happened, I didn’t workout for a complete month and couldn’t do anything too strenuous for two months – that really put a damper on my progress in the gym. After working on recovering in the past few months I’ve appreciated working out much more and for that I’m thankful.
- Binge eating. For a big part of 2014 I really struggled with binge eating. You know, eating to excess, till you are completely STUFFED. This is a big reason why I undertook my 100 day no sweets challenge and in the past couple of months I finally feel like I have a grip on it.
- Not finishing my 400 posts in 400 days challenge. At the end of 2013 I decided I’d write a post every day for a more than a year, 400 in all. While I didn’t end up completing the challenge (I did post more than 200 though starting at the end of 2013) it forced me to write and it’s a big reason why I enjoy writing much more now.
- Managing clients. Overall I think I do a great job managing clients, but there were still times I double booked people or had my schedule wrong. Further more, I can remember feeling completely overwhelmed by my schedule one day and I pretty much broke down. I was already sick, didn’t get much sleep that night and felt helpless. As a trainer we do whatever we can do accommodate our clients, but it is vitally important to be in control of our schedules and take breaks when appropriate. After that day I realized that more than ever and have since improved and felt great. In 2015 I know I’ll run into less issues.
- Client results. What!? You mean to tell me that there were clients of yours who didn’t get the results they wanted? Yes, that is correct. If you’ve ever been a trainer you know happens. For a number of reasons every client will not get the results they want, but for me, if even one client doesn’t get results, it bothers me. It bothers the hell out of me. While I did have clients that lost 20, 25 or 30 pounds, clients that increased their strength tremendously and clients that improved every measure of health I also had clients who didn’t get the results they wanted. In 2015 I’ll continue to do everything I possibly can to change that (Which is exactly why I created my course: Long Term Fat Loss for Busy People).
- Help other trainers. While I did many things to help my clients and other people get fit in 2014 I recognize that I didn’t do enough to help out other trainers. It’s not that I think I’m a know-it-all or my way is best, but I know that I have knowledge on training and nutrition that could help out other trainers and I haven’t done a good enough job of getting it out to them. Helping other trainers grow will ultimately cause more of an impact than simply working with clients myself. In 2015 I’d like to help trainers more – sharing what’s worked for me and my clients, what hasn’t worked and how to better serve our clients.
What helped me create so much and lead to the things that went well in 2014? The following list includes a few of the most important things.
- Waking up early. This is unquestionably one of the best habits I’ve developed in the last year or two. Typically I wake up around 4:00 a.m. and let me tell you this: there are no distractions at this time and it’s perfect for getting work done. This doesn’t mean you have to get up that early, but by doing so you’ll also be able to accomplish something before even going to your other job and for me this is where I did the majority of my creation.
- Consuming daily positive messages. There is a great quote by Zig Ziglar on motivation “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, which is why we recommend it daily” and in 2014 I took this to heart. There are really two ways to look at any situation – positive or negative – and the choice is completely yours. By consistently consuming content that is upbeat, positive or inspiring on a daily basis I feel like my mindset in 2014 developed to a whole other level. This is a habit that for me starts right away in the morning when I watch YouTube videos on inspiring people while I eat breakfast.
- Reflecting consistently. I write in a journal nearly every day and I do it so that I can reflect on what went well and what didn’t as well decide if I’m on the right path for what my goals are. It’s easy to not be true to yourself and your goals if you aren’t staying accountable – reflecting consistently makes you accountable and it helped me greatly in 2014.
- Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. Yea, yea, yea you’ve heard these things for as long as you can remember but I know that I feel a noticeable difference when I’m neglecting any one of these. My biggest struggle would probably be sleeping enough, but this will be something I focus more on in 2015.
- Investing in yourself. I easily invested more than $1,000 in myself through conferences, continuing education, a mastermind group and books I bought. And you know what? It was 100% worth it. People say that the best investment you can make is in yourself and I agree with this completely. In 2014 I read more books, listened to more podcasts and watched more educational videos than any other year in my life and I know this has paid dividends already in my life.
- Habits are everything. I listed some of the key habits that helped me create a great 2014 and I can’t push working on habit change enough. If you can establish a few key habits then the rest of your success is inevitable.
- You have to balance learning and taking action. It is easy to consume, consume, consume without ever taking action. Half way through 2014 I started to realize this. I’m still working on the balance between the two, but I know that many people out there read the latest book or take the latest course, but never actually take action. Taking action is everything! I’ve learned that if you want to accomplish anything you have to take action and it all begins with getting started, no matter how small the action may be.
- People are everything. No matter what I do in life, everything seems to always come back to the fact that people are everything – people are most important. People are the reason why I work so hard writing blog posts, creating videos and researching better ways of training. People are what makes life enjoyable. People are what makes life worth living. I had an idea of this before 2014, but this year I think the idea was cemented in my brain forever.
Looking ahead to 2015 I’ll be building off of what I did in 2014. I think I made a ton of progress in 2014, but there is always room for improvement 🙂 In 2015 I hope to do a few things:
- Create more. More blog posts, more videos, another course – In 2015 I’ll create even more than I did in 2014. My goals are 50 videos, 200 blog posts and at least 1 more course. I enjoy creating content that helps people and I’m sure that 2015 will be my biggest year of content creation yet.
- Travel more. I was able to travel a fair amount in 2014, but in 2015 I hope to travel even more. What does this mean exactly? My first trip to Europe or South America, visiting the Pacific Northwest and seeing other friends of mine who live all over the country.
- Volunteer. I haven’t done extensive amounts of volunteering yet, but I’d like to get involved more in 2015. I think we all have the ability to help others and volunteering our time, our most precious resource, is a great way to do so.
- Spread more positivity. Have you seen the absurd amounts of negativity in this world? Just watch the news for 5 minutes and you’ll see it. There are way too many negative messages clouding our minds on a daily basis and in 2015 I plan on helping spread more positive ones through my blogs posts and videos.
Now it’s your turn to review your year.
What did you do well?
What did you struggle with?
What lessons did you learn?
What are your 2015 plans?
Going through these can help you create your best year yet.
Thanks for reading this far and go out and create an amazing 2015!