Leadership

Taking The First Small Step

Clare Anderson
08th October 2021
 < 1 min read

April, Financial Planning Administration

Counting steps - just one small step at a time - changed my life. Like so many people, I had ignored how I felt for the longest time. Like for so many people, the pandemic changed everything. All of a sudden I had so much time on my hands - and I couldn’t hide from myself any longer. I realized I had become an overweight, lazy and boring 35-year-old! My life was monotonous, I felt unattractive and useless and, to top it all off, I was having challenges at work. No longer being able to keep myself as busy as I had been made me realize that I had hit rock bottom.

I saw and accepted where I was - and started fixing what needed to be fixed. I set myself a 30-day‘ Improvement Plan’ - and when this hard work paid off and I noticed other people valuing me, I started to feel so much better about myself. Allowing negative thoughts and emotions to drown you is no way to live - and I realised that I did actually have value - a lot of it. It’s not external circumstances that are the problem - it is your own perspective on these. I set myself a goal of taking at least 1,000 steps a day. Walking is a simple and effective exercise - it costs nothing - and gyms weren’t an option during the pandemic anyway. My motivation grew when I shared this with our People Manager and she was inspired to do the same. Other colleagues were as well - we built up a ‘buddy system’ of keeping each other accountable. I’m now on 7,000 steps a day - and feel so much better and proud of myself for it!

A bonus side-effect of walking regularly was losing a significant amount of weight. It wasn’t something I was specifically aiming for - it happened holistically - all parts of us are interconnected. Eating more fish and vegetables - and less rice (especially at night) - certainly helped too. This led to me significantly cutting down my daily caffeine intake and drinking lots of hot water. Then I started to ensure I was getting at least eight hours of sleep every night - I set my alarm for 8.45 pm every evening and I switched off my phone and wi-fi to ensure I got some quiet time before dozing off. Waking up at 5 am, enjoying more quiet time, drinking water, stretching and starting to count my steps again accelerated the happy place I was going to. I spent less time on social media, walked in the afternoons (always counting my steps) and ensured that after work I really took time to unwind.

I’m spending more time cooking healthy, delicious meals, more time reading, more time talking to my parents and getting to know them better. I no longer cocoon myself in my own world - there are so many good and positive and happy things to interact with out there! My original goals have now become habits - and a lifestyle I love. I feel so much healthier, lighter, happier, well-rested and positive. I’ve started saving and building up a ‘rainy day fund’ and am aiming to buy my own home in the next three years. I’m also dreaming of getting back into doing charitable and community outreach work. My dream is to create ‘Love Bags’ (containing groceries, toiletries, masks and other necessary items) to give out to street children. My life has a purpose and is a precious gift from God - and it all started with taking the first small step.

 

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