It’s funny how mindsets can quickly change.
In the preceding few months before I came to Dubai, the part of the day which I gave most importance to was my daily workout, usually late morning, in the gym or at home. It was probably the most enjoyable part too. It was the only thing I had planned and the one thing I always knew with certainty I was going to do. Everything else fitted around it, or in some cases didn’t. But my training always got done.
I wasn’t doing much else at the time. I wasn’t working and had moved back home to Waterford to wait for my official teaching contract to come through. The wait was very similar to how I’ve felt anytime I’ve ever come across road works with those makeshift traffic lights that seem to stay red for an eternity. You get agitated and restless and just want to be let through. In this case, I had to wait for months not knowing when I would get the final go ahead. In the meantime, I just trained, ate well, and slept, a lot.
For me, as much as anything else, training helped fill a void that I had allowed myself to believe existed at the time. It kept me sane and stopped my mind from going into overdrive while I waited. I set small goals like lifting heavier, getting faster, dropping body fat or putting on muscle mass. As much as being competitive in sport and in good health, setting and meeting goals in the gym simply made me feel better about life. It was something I could affect each day rather than focusing on a potential job offer of which I had no control over. As mentioned in my previous post, I had allowed a feeling of underachievement, both personally and professionally, creep into my mindset. Rightly or wrongly I balanced this with small accomplishments in my training. With parts of my life still unclear this provided a chance to focus on something concrete each day and give the feeling of still moving forward in some way.
All that was then however. This is now; almost two months later. I live on food deliveries, take mid-afternoon naps, drink more alcohol and have been to the gym just two times since. Up until now I’ve had zero motivation to really change any of that. I still don’t if I’m honest. The challenges of a new place, new job, making new friends and new relationships have all taken priority while working out has got lost somewhere down the list.
Instead of it being the focus of my day it is now the reverse. I find myself trying to fit it around everything else that is happening in life. Sometimes life just takes over and that’s fine. In the last eight weeks, I’ve had my fill of hamburgers and hotdogs. I’ve even had the best time scouring Dubai’s cafes and restaurants for the perfect cheesecake, dealing with the highs and lows along the way. Although, I’ll probably put the search aside for now, I’m convinced that special one is still out there. Waiting silently.
On a more serious note, the toughest part after taking a break is always starting back. Making it part of your daily routine again. The reason I haven’t done so is not due to the massive changes in my life nor is it because I haven’t had time but simply because I haven’t planned for it properly in my life over here yet.
With that in mind I’ve decided to address two things:
1 Make a schedule
Taking some time out from my day to write out my goals and make out a workout schedule based on those goals. It’s difficult to be motivated to train if you don’t know what it is you want to achieve. I’ve found that for me I need structure and an overall plan to follow even if it’s tweaked a bit along the way. Training when I feel like it or when I’m in the mood makes it too easy to ignore and make excuses. More often than not it just doesn’t get done.
2. Sleep more
It’s well and good making out a plan and time schedule but I need to be able to physically implement that plan. In Dubai, if you teach at a public boys school, which I do, you begin work at 7am. I’ve got by, so far, on about five hours sleep each night, just enough to get through work but it has left me craving a nap by the time I get home. A specific workout plan for the following day should be enough to get my ass to bed early. Work just hasn’t done it up to now.
As I prepare (or try) to get the show on the road again I’d love to hear:
How you deal with big periods of change?
How easy or difficult is it for you to get back into your training routine?
How you manage your overall life balance?