At the start of this month I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket for Fresh Resolutions in Dublin.
The event was billed as:
"A bringing together of some of Ireland’s leaders in health, fitness, and wellbeing to support attendees in their pursuit of a better year ahead. Whether you’re looking to enhance energy levels or increase productivity, searching for top training tips or just want to meet great like-minded people, this outstanding event is there for you to make 2018 your year."
It’s very easy when you’ve been to a lot of health and wellbeing events to come away and think “did I actually learn anything new today?”
And that’s often the problem: we receive the same advice time and time again throughout our lives about how to succeed. Whether we hear it, read it, pay for it or observe it in other people’s lives. And yet somehow we turn up time and time again at this sort of get-together and expect different, quick-fix, miracle answers.
The talks at Fresh Resolutions were really varied with a range of speakers coming from different backgrounds and with different expertise. But I noticed there were a few themes that popped up across all the talks that I wanted to share with you.
1. You need to take back the power
The biggest most consistent theme that came up across Fresh Resolutions was:
You’re the only person who can change you.
Here are a few examples of things said over the course of the day that I think tapped into this:
"A weakness is just a skill you haven’t practised yet"
"The universe gives you what you put in after the words “I am…”"
"Author your own reputation… or someone else will!"
"You are who LinkedIn says you are"
Notice the thread? It’s so easy to make excuses and blame other people or circumstances for the situations we find ourselves in. Or to think that you need just one more course, one more book, one more coaching session to be a better you – I am totally a victim of this!
But ultimately you are the one in control of making changes and sticking to resolutions.
No-one else can do it for you.
2. Consistency isn’t sexy – but it works
One of the panels focused on fitness with experts Rob Lipsett, Siobhan O’Hagan and PT Steffan Fusco. The advice from all three was resoundingly sensible, and hilariously despite incredible appearances in selfies and social media – very boring!
There aren’t any magic tips for getting in shape.
It’s not about the timing of when you eat, or the perfect protein for the female body or exercises to target bits of your body. It’s about boring old routine and consistency.
And the formula is basically the same: eat less calories and move more.
Try to include some weights in your workouts, eat a diet that works for you (no extremes or cutting out food groups) and try to keep a food diary even for a week to see what you actually consume and how you can make positive changes. If you don’t want to make your own protein snack bars then just eat a Snickers! It’s still calories.
This theme of consistency came up again on the ‘Overcoming Obstacles’ talk featuring Sinead Kane, the first blind person to run a marathon on 7 continents in 7 days.
When asked about her routine or habits she said quite honestly that most days were “fairly boring.” Consistency and doing “boring regular things” were the key to her success in training for her marathons.
Social media might make you feel like every day should be an extreme. But results actually come from the boring days.
3. Community is everything
This is a bit of a geeky online business one, but relevant to me.
Roz Purcell hit the nail on the head with her response:
“You shouldn’t be focusing on the numbers, you should be focusing on the community. I didn’t care if I only got 3 likes on my photos on Natural Born Feeder. It was a delicious recipe I wanted to share and if it inspired just a handful of people then that was enough for me.”
With that approach now #NaturalBornFeeder has created a community where people share their own remakes or recipes and interact and support one another.
Social media expert Cian Corbett touched on this as well when he said “the difference between casual connection and a trusted connection is communication.” Communicating with your audience or community moves people from feeling indifferent about you, to really knowing and trusting you.
And The Happy Pear twins also made community one of their ingredients for happiness (see the full list below): which they build in their business through sunrise swims, free porridge and cookery classes.
4. Make mindful moments and get grateful
Pretty much all the speakers talked about having a gratitude practise and taking time to meditate or be mindful. It’s something that’s definitely on the rise and I’m sure will be much more mainstream by the end of the year.
I know for myself that 2017 was really the year I got into regular meditation and my 2018 resolution is to keep a gratitude diary.
Health and wellness coach Alison Canavan pointed out that digital technology has taken away our mindful moments from the day. Waiting in a queue for a coffee and standing for the bus used to be moments where we could just think and spend some time with our own thoughts. Now with a phone in our hand those moments are gone.
But there’s no need to turn mediation, mindfulness or gratitude into a big deal or another obstacle. At the end of the event Pat Divilly said this:
“Pen and paper is more powerful than any self-help book you can read. We spend too much time looking external. We need to spend more time looking internal.”
The amount of people I’ve noticed this New Year on social media who have received fancy looking bullet journals, or gratitude diaries, has really struck me. And don’t get me wrong, they have their place! I even put the amazing Imperfect Life Planner on my Christmas Wish List last year and gifted it to my sister who I think is going to make fantastic use of it.
But what’s wrong with a pen and paper sometimes? Why is a blank notebook so terrifying?
I have two notebooks on the go at the moment, and got a third for Christmas I’ve started filling too. I also have a beautiful leather-bound notebook I’m saving for goodness only knows what – when I’ve nailed the perfect journal format perhaps.
What I realised as I got sucked into researching bullet journals over the holidays and all the wonderful formats and layouts you can use was this: I actually already ‘bullet journal’ anyway.
I don’t decorate the pages or have a code or an elaborate system for transferring tasks. But each Sunday I write a list of what I need to get done and then tick things off throughout the week.
I’ve developed and changed my own personal system across the whole of 2017 with a series of ‘daily’ and ‘weekly’ tasks, into something that works for me.
And ultimately that’s what a journal should be: something that works for you.
Other Fresh Resolutions useful tit-bits I’m taking with me:
Cian Corbett suggested writing a social media statement:
- In 2018 I will be...
- I’ll share content that...
- With a view to…
The Happy’s Pear’s recipe for happiness:
- Do what you love
- Go easy on yourself
Questions I want to add to my gratitude practise:
- What would make tomorrow great?
- What could have made today better?
When you’re about to throw in the towel, stop and think:
- What was the last win you had in this area?
- Why is that relevant?
- What is your next action point?
Talk to yourself. Don’t listen to yourself.
A challenge for you:
Close your eyes and bring to mind two people you most admire. What are the qualities those two people have that you respect about them? Write down 3 words to describe those traits.
My three words were:
Now introduce yourself to someone using those three words (obviously this worked well in the conference setting, I'm not suggesting you do it in normal life!). For example I would say:
“Hello, my name is Vicky. I am determined, confident and courageous.”
Pat Divilly’s theory with this challenge is often that we see in other people behaviours that we actually already possess ourselves. He even has these words saved to the background of his phone as a constant reminder!
What do you think? Were you at Fresh Resolutions? What were your take-away messages?