1Q Take-aways

It’s almost the end of March and I have a whole mass of stuff to wrap up about the first quarter of the year and a whole load of disconnected ideas for 2Q all floating around in my head, I’m also missing a week or two of round-ups and will have a March round-up to do as well but things have been so hectic – not sure how much will get done before the start of April. Here, though, is a summary of a few successful things that have come out of 1Q – not always what I was expecting or aiming for but it’s good nevertheless to recognise the progress I’ve made.

  • I have nailed my exercise goals. Everything I set out to do I think I have done! I started out hoping for an average of 5×5 weekly (cardio & strength) and I think my final total number of workouts will exceed this on both counts, even the ones I missed when I was ill I made up.  During March I’ve moved consistently up to 6 cardio sessions a week. I went from two morning swims a week to four (once I noticed how much better I felt going to work after exercising and how my emotional regulation throughout the day was easier as a result). I started jogging again, and my pace has been gradually improving. I have moved up to more challenging strength moves and noticed in an unexpected sideways glance that my upper arms show promise now, I don’t hate them and by the summer I hope I’ll be able to wear regular t-shirts without feeling self-conscious. It hasn’t always been easy (although that said, it’s been one of the easier parts of my lifestyle to embed) and at the moment I’m paying for it with various aches and fatigue at certain times, but I have to remember that this is it, this is the lifestyle I want to have for life – to work out every morning before work, to get in six 20-35 minute reasonably-challenging cardio workouts a week and strength train at least every other day. That’s the formula! The only adjustment I think I’d ever need to make to that is to maybe add in a longer workout at the weekend or if I ever eventually join a club or class in the future. So if it’s hard now, that’s OK – it can only get easier. But the rewards make the discipline worth it, and the routine makes the discipline easy. My goal at the start of the year was to find a workout programme that worked for me and this I have DONE. All I have to do now is keep on with it.
  • Work has gone incredibly well, really. I started out this year with the dual aims to care less about work in general and to work with the people rather than just complete the tasks. I’ve found that not only have I been more engaged in work (not sure this is such a good thing since I have other priorities!) but I have taken more on and achieved more than in previous years. I have finally come to the conclusion that when it comes to office work tasks, there is nothing I can’t deal with – in this job or in any other. I can always find ways to get things done or learn how to do things if I don’t know how. I don’t need to be scared or stressed about the tasks themselves – the point where I fall down is that I get too emotional about things and too drained by all the drama. It seems like every week something weird happens at our office, not least in our immediate team where our boss seems simultaneously quite accommodating and quite wily! My emotions run close to the surface – that makes me a good singer but is less helpful in an office situation. HOWEVER, since resolving to work with people rather than on things I have seen exponential development in my working relationships with the key players in our office and have succeeded for the first time in persuading basically the whole office to do the things I need them to do. I’ve never particularly traded on my inter-personal skills before but this year so far has been a pleasant reminder that I can work with people smoothly. This takes a lot of stress out of things and gives me hope that I might be able to get a better job in future.
  • Music progress: it’s difficult to quantify this because it’s such a gradual process but when I look back at where I started the year, things have definitely improved. I’ve worked proper warm-ups into my daily routine and have noticed an increase in my ranges and an improvement in strength, tone and vibrato – still a long way to go, but just recently I’ve noticed that I can rely on getting the quality I want out of my voice on most occasions. I started the year with almost no gig-ready songs and nothing recorded for the website and have finished up with 22 potential songs and three already uploaded. I’ve tried countless new songs to learn and my guitar work is much improved. The more I do, the more ideas I have of things I would like to be able to do – but there is definite progress there. I also stuck to my time commitment and realised that a lot of what I’m doing during that time is not just building skills but building confidence – the more time I spend at it the more I can imagine myself being a successful singer, and I think that’s the hardest part of trying to move into a new way of life.

On the whole, besides a couple of wobbly days where I’ve wondered how I can possibly change my life in all the ways I want to, I’ve been sold on these dreams for the full three months and completely invested in them.

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