Exercise · Heath

Ups and downs today.

So, yesterday saw me getting up 6am to exercise.  This morning, I didn’t get out of bed.  I did really mean to.  I got up at 9am.  So, this morning ritual thing takes some getting used to.  So, we got in the car and drove out to Oldbury on Severn and walked.  We walked some more and it was lovely.  Blue skies and the temperature was just right!  There was still something niggling at me.

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The walk continued and as we neared the nuclear power station, I had walked 3.4 miles.  My heart rate was steady, but I kept the pace up.  Canadian Geese flew overhead, the sun shone – yet still something was bothering me.

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As we returned to our starting point, a delightful community cafe – I had a coffee in hand and my wife and I chatted.  Something was still up.  We then walked a further 10 minutes through the village, up a hill, and sat looking over the Severn.  A fantastic view from the churchyard.  I realised what was wrong.  I still felt guilt that I hadn’t stuck to my goal.  It was the first, in the first week, that I had let something slip.  I had been beating myself up for it.

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Because I’m new to this, I don’t know how to deal with things not going to plan.  Despite doing the exercise and having a lovely time too, I feel that not getting up and hitting the street as planned – I’d taken a step back to what I was doing.

So, I’m confronted with two options, do I get up at 6am tomorrow, or do I allow myself to find other ways of exercising.  The main point of this morning routine is to achieve exercise when I’m working.  I’m not working at the moment, but is that an excuse?  Probably.

Looking at the stats, I think for this week as long as I achieve the steps, points and tick some goals off my list, or take action to achieve them – I think it’s okay.

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Tuesday 19th September 2017

In terms of goals, today I achieved a leap toward achieving something I’ve been wanting to do for years.  During the last 5 years of my Dad’s life he wrote is memoirs, and 2 novels.  He died 13 years ago.  Tonight, I started to prepare one of his novels to publish it online as an e-book.  It feels good.  I’m about 60% done with it, but I’ve never published an e-book before so lots to do and learn.  It’s all on the list.

Anyway, time for bed.  Tomorrows another day!

Exercise · Heath

Morning workouts! Terrible idea?

When I told my wife that I was planning to wake up at 6am and go for a 4 mile walk she literally snorted.  To back her up a little I have a reputation for “sleeping in”.  In my defence, I normally stay up until 2am “researching” or working on my next great plan.  So, the result of that is I do not normally get out of bed until I absolutely have to.  That said, if I have, it’s no problem.  I can deal with tired.  I might be grumpy but I have been surviving on 5 or 6 hours of sleep.  I have been to “tired” to exercise.  What an idiot.

So, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve be researching morning routines.  I found that the majority of successful people wake up early and get all the stuff they have to do between the hours of 6 and 8.  So, a morning routine needs to be formulated.  The first and the most mentally gruelling is waking up early and exercising.

This morning, the alarm went off at 6am and I rolled out of bed.  I put my shorts and T-shirt on and left the house.  I followed a walk my wife and I did the day before to test the FitBit Charge 2.  I took my phone so I could track my route (because the Charge 2 uses the phones GPS to track location).  The difference with my walk and the day before was that I pushed it a little harder and it was longer.

The morning light was lovely, and it wasn’t raining.  I grabbed a few shots of myself for the weekly vlog (coming soon) and I took an occasional peep at my heart rate to ensure that I wasn’t about to pass out or explode.  I was fine.

As you exit the green leafy section and turn left up the hill….there is a hill.  I walked with determination up it and the result was sweat and heavy breathing.  Day one, lesson learned – I am not in good shape.  Clearly.  That’s what I’m really looking forward to doing in 6 weeks time.  Look back at this blog and my video diary and see a difference.  Hell I might even be able to have a conversation with someone after walking up that bloody hill.

I doubled the walk I did yesterday by tracing my steps back.  I did a very respectable 3.34 miles.  Normally I’d be asleep!  Ha ha!  I also burned through nearly 700 calories.  My wife owes me 50p.

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Monday 18th September 2017

So, the new schedule is:

  • Get to bed by 22:30 – 23:00
  • Get up at 06:00 and be out of the house by 6:30.
  • Walk for an hour.
  • Return to house and shower.
  • Eat breakfast and drink coffee
  • Leave house at 08:00 for work.

The end of day one of the fitness schedule saw me eat 43 daily points out of 55.  I also earned 30 FitPoints.

Yay!  Lets see how tomorrow goes.  Rain is forecast!  Gonna eat popcorn (9 points!) and watch a film now (Alien Covenant).

Night!

 

GOAL REPORT

Week 1 – Goal Report

So HOW’S IT GOING?

Last week, I set out a few initial goals for the week.  The idea is to make more as I go and build on them.  Here’s a quick update on how it’s going.

  • By next Monday, I will walk 10 miles. ACHIEVED!

My pedometer ++ App reports that over the last week I have walked 15 miles, and if today’s FitBit report is anything to go by – I will aim for 20 miles next week (3 miles a day).

Pedometer++ 17Sept2017

  • I will have found a nutritionist (I will also learn how to spell it).
  • I will have started a diet plan. ACHIEVED!

I’m lumping these together this week as I have joined Weight Watchers and this is both a diet plan and aids nutrition.  I realise that a nutritionist will be able to tailor make an eating plan, but research has shown that this will cost more than a FitBit tracker and a Weight Watchers subscription and in my first week I think this is enough to be dealing with and something that I can work on once I have reduced calories and upped the amount of exercise.  Despite being on the WW diet for only 3 days I appear to have lost 7lbs!  My official weigh in date is on Friday mornings.

  • I will found a way to monitor my spending.  ACHIEVED!

I have a Monzo card now and that is enabling me to monitor my spending.

Monzo Card
Note: This isn’t my card, it’s a generic photo – but it is that colour!
  • I will have created a detailed and lengthy list of goals.  ACHIEVED!

I have been formulating additional goals.  I have written a list but have not published them.  I will in due course.  Tomorrow, I will publish some of them within my WEEK 2 GOALS.

  • I will have completed one online free course about setting life goals. ACHIEVED!

I have watched a series of free seminar videos from Project Life Mastery.  I have also watched many additional YouTube seminars about life goals.  I am still undecided as to whether a paid course or life coach is a good investment.  More investigation is required.

  • I will have completed one online free course about online commerce. ACHIEVED!

I have watched an online seminar (again from Project Life Mastery) and a podcast about selling on Amazon.  I haven’t yet decided to which seminar to pay for yet.  Further research is required.

So…  One week has passed.

I’m very happy with the results of the week.  Having goals to tick off a weekly list is an effective tool to getting things done.  For many who have done this before, even casually might be like “Duh”, but that’s why I’m doing this – to get back up to speed with being an effective human.  I’ll keep it up.  Adding goals and tasks as I go.  Some, I suspect, will migrate to the “ritual” category as I adopt them into my working week.  Tomorrow I start a morning ritual.  Get up at 6am and go for an hour walk.  Back for 7am – breakfast and then work.  I’ll document this first week of this ritual.

My wife doesn’t think I’ll manage it.  I like sleeping in.  She’s got a point!

Exercise · Heath

Why did I buy another FitBit?

A couple of years ago – I bought a FitBit and killed it dead within a couple of weeks.  

Many wouldn’t consider buying another one but I’m easily persuaded by shiny new promises of features and abilities – and as an early adopter I’ve had this kind of thing happen before.  Before it did die – I found the FitBit very handy until it died.  It was also kinda my fault as I got it wet.  The FITBIT CHARGE is not WATERPROOF.  I know that now.

Today, I found myself in an Argos and picked up a Charge 2 for £109.  I also got a discounted charging cable as a bundle.  Handy as I do go away on business a fair bit and having two cables  just means I don’t have to upset my bedside charging setup or lose a cable and have an excuse.

"I cant exercise as my tracker is flat."

I bought a FitBit Charge 2.  The price was it’s main selling point along with a heart rate monitor.  Up until now I’ve been using a tracker on my phone.  A paid app called pedometer++ did a good job but lacked the ability to measure heart rate and, it’s a phone, so hopefully not in contact with your body all day.

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The Charge 2 – It is quite small, light and is water resistant which means rain and sweat proof.   Not dunking.  I will not be swimming or showering in it.  I know that now.  It also collects GPS data from your phone – so that’s okay.   The more expensive and slightly bigger Surge has built in GPS.

Setting up and pairing the App to the device was super easy and quick.  Standard device pairing routine then a quick questionnaire about my age, height and weight.  It also checks to see what wrist you are planning to wear it on, and if you are right or left handed.  I set up a new account and it all got going.  The time and date were correct, as was the syncing process to the online account details.  After a quick charge and an update… it was ready to go!

So it does a lot but what it also does is inspire me to get out there and walk and get the heart pumping.  In just a few hours of use, I’ve been on a walk and it has reported distance, exercise type (walking) and heart rate.  The biggie is that it communicates with Weight Watchers app and gives me shiny new Fit-points.  After a 60 minute walk I gained 17.

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In the WW App you can configure it to offset Fit-points with your food points but so far my 17 Fit Points are intact! 🙂  This function to transfer your hard earned exercise points to edible ones is hidden away in a menu somewhere.  At the time of writing, I have not looked for this function.  I ate dinner 6 hours ago and I’m hungry.  So, that’s something! 🙂

Anyway in summary – I know I didn’t NEED a fitbit to get out and go for a walk, track my sleep, monitor my heart rate while at rest, calculate the total amount of steps I walked over a day, month or year – but it does help.   Integration with Weight Watchers is also a big thing as I said earlier.  Seeing it on my phone makes me feel like I’m achieving something.

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Now, moving forward with this.  This hour of walking was easily achieved at the weekend.  How do I ensure that an hour is possible during a busy working week?  My next step is to work on a morning ritual.  A schedule for my first 2 hours of the day.  That is entirely alien to me, but many successful people that I have been researching over the last week do it.  If it works for them, then hopefully it will work for me.

Andy.

Financial

My first few days with Monzo MasterCard

A competely fee free pre paid card, with an app and contactless?  There must be a catch!?

Monitoring spending, on a personal level has got easier since joining online banking 5 or so years ago but I’m always looking for smarter ways of doing stuff.  I’m also not a “credit card” person.  I don’t get on with them.  So why get a Monzo card?

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Also my accountant has mentioned on several occasions that it would be better to separate business expenditure from personal spending.  So, in looking for a solution I discovered Monzo.  It’s an online contactless pre-paid debit MasterCard that is run entirely with an app on your phone.  It came highly recommended on Money Saving Expert too.

About 3 weeks ago, I did some research and found that they offer all all their services with no added fee’s.  That includes international spending and transfers.  I downloaded the app and  joined a queue.  Quite a big queue!  Thousands of  other people ahead of me on this.  I checked the progress hourly and my progress to getting a card was slow.  Monzo was crowdfunded back in 2015.  They raised £1,000,000 in a staggering 96 seconds!  

They aim to re-invent how banks work and are among a growing number of online banks starting to challenge traditional bricks and mortar financial institutions.  As of October 2016 they now have over 200,000 users.  They are currently rolling out current accounts too.

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While I was away on business I got an exciting notification that my card was ready to be sent out, pending a couple of ID requests.  With those completed the App told me my card was on it’s way.  When I got back from Glasgow – there it was.  I opened it up and activated the card.  They insist that you top up £100 with a debit card.  As I did so, my balance was instantly updated.  They use the same software tech that make Amazon and Google work.  They are keen on user feedback too.  The queue didn’t take as long as I thought it would.  I was up and running!

I paid a visit to Tesco and spent around £9 on shopping.  I used my new neon orange contactless card and instantly it updated my balance.  The payment was located correctly and automatically categorised as groceries.  This is very handy!  Monzo, despite being pre-paid, allows real time access to my spending, and on what I spend on.  Before I would spend and that would be mixed in with other spending.  As my accountant isn’t really interested in costs that fall outside business spending – analysis of how much I spend on what would be discarded.

It’s also interesting that Monzo don’t charge for international use so for the future – it will be useful when travelling.

So, I will transfer £100 as and when I need to.  I will do that for a month to see what I spend on non-business related stuff.  The fact that it adds each transaction to categories and allows you to monitor and limit spending within those sections.

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So, this Monzo card has no catches yet.  My main question is… how do they make money from us?  I’ll keep updating how I get on with Monzo and the results of my spending breakdown!

 

Diet · Heath

Weight Watchers? There’s an app for that!

Looking through my weekly goals today, I’ve checked a couple off but the idea of formulating a diet plan was a tad daunting.  My current job means that I work from 9am to 6pm most days and the nature of my work often means I cannot easily just leave work at a set time.  Achieving a better work/life balance is yet another goal – but at the moment I have to work within the situation.  Up to now I’ve used circumstances as an excuse not to try doing stuff – and joining a weight loss programme was a big one.

Today I joined Weight Watchers Online for less than £5 a month.  Sign up was easy – I paid with PayPal and downloaded the WW app on my phone.  I created a username, uploaded a photo and entered in my body and current weight stats.  I’m 19 stone 1lb.  I’m 6 foot 3 inches tall and I’m a man.  When I got married 17 years ago – I was 16 stone 9lb.  I felt more comfortable at that weight – so I set it as my target.

 

I hopped from the laptop to the app and both updated each other as you would expect.  Options for syncing with fitness tracking devices from all the big brands are there too.  I don’t own a working fitness tracker as last year my Fitbit passed away due to water ingress during a shower.  I might think about getting another one – maybe not a FitBit though.  Without a tracker, you can enter the activity manually, but where’s the fun in that! 🙂

The App is well put together and I’ve logged what I’ve eaten today and I’m getting my head around the point system.  You can scan bar codes and the food database is massive with many of the items I eat daily.

Another big thing is the community integration.  It’s a social media styled system which allows members to share their experience and receive praise and advice.  After I set my account up, I went on and posted a quick hello and a little background as to why I was joining.  Within minutes I had several lovely comments spurring me on.  A lovely start.

So, I’m counting tomorrow as day 1 and I’m very pleased that Weight Watchers is available online without being tied into attending meetings.  So, I’ll follow the App’s suggestions, track my food, exercise and interact with the lovely gang who post, advise and inspire.

Sharing the experience with its highs and lows online [as I outlined in this post] is important to me.  If I know people are along for the ride, it adds to the journey and inspires me to keep going.  It’s also fun to share information, top tips and meet new people!

So, off we go!

Andy.

 

Uncategorized

Time waits for no man.  Especially in a suit.

I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my flight.  I sit opposite a guy in suit.  He’s on his phone, he’s talking about an important meeting.  He’s off to Frankfurt.  His gate was just called and off he goes.  I don’t know what he does, but he’s doing it. His time is precious.

After watching the seminars and listening to several podcasts – the point that made the most impact on me was that I sell my time.  My time is limited to a singular purchase.  The movers and shakers find ways to find a way of making money and replicating it.  Over and over.  Same time, bigger results.

I know, I know – this is the basis of most business.  Having just had a Starbucks coffee and sandwich I should have realised this sooner in life.  Sadly though, I’ve been a video guy up until this late emergence.  At least it’s happening.  It’s only taken 42 years.

Don’t get me wrong – I get paid well, but I don’t work smart.  A 10 hour day earns me the same as a 8 – 12 or 16 hour day.  That’s not business, that’s stupid.

Now, think if my experience, my worth, my marketability was a video that when played it generated income.  It’s working all the time for a singular expenditure of effort and that product (or video) is repeatable. That’s it.  I get it.  I want it.  Goal determined!

Right – 20 minutes and my gate is up.  Time to listen to some more stuff, inspired.

Andy.