When the lockdowns hit Australia and the world, it was a huge shock to us all. Our daily lives changed in the blink of an eye and it felt like the world stopped spinning. For myself living a pretty fast paced life, I found the change for the first couple of weeks extremely difficult. From one of my businesses no longer being able to operate, to my daily routine of gym and golf being restricted to a few dumbbell curls and hitting a ball into a net on my balcony.
I found myself slowly slipping out of good habits and routines I’d built, and it wasn’t long before I was sleeping in, eating way too much and feeling cabin fever setting in. However, once I was able to step back and recognise the behavioural patterns I was slipping into, I decided to flip the switch, and become more disciplined than I ever had been. Since then I can proudly say I’ve achieved a lot of things that I never thought possible and managed to shift my paradigm – learning a bunch of lessons along the way. Here are the 3 most valuable lessons I learned:
1. Fasting is a Game Changer
“Hunger is the first element of self discipline” – Unknown
I’ll be the first to admit – I simply love food. Usually spending the majority of my days out and about, I was always able to maintain my relatively-in-shape physique. Making the switch to working from home full time challenged me, as I found myself in the cupboard every 15 minutes looking for something to snack on (peanut butter 90% of the time). After a couple of weeks and a couple kilo’s, I decided to start intermittent fasting again. Having experimented with it many years ago with some great results, it was one of those habits that slowly slipped away into oblivion over the course of a few years.
Within 2 weeks, I was able to get back into shape, simply by reducing my eating window and therefore the overall amount of food I was taking in. As well as losing some kg’s, I experienced better sleep, greater focus and an overall greater sense of control. There are a number of other benefits to fasting including cell repair, reduction of inflammation and increased production of growth hormones. Falling in love with fasting again greatly helped me get through the lockdown period un-scathed, and it’s a habit that I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
2. Discipline is More Crucial In Times of Crisis
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of “oh it doesn’t matter, we’re going to be in lockdowns for god knows how long, so what the hell”. I just so happened to read one of the most profoundly simple, but transformative books I’ve ever read, called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson, only a matter of weeks before the lockdowns. The core principle of “The Slight Edge”, is that everything you do compounds over time – either working for you, or against you.
For example, rather than try to finish a book in a day, build and develop the habit of reading by starting small – perhaps even 5 pages a day, increasing incrementally over time. I made it my mission to apply the slight edge to my life and become more disciplined during the lockdowns, which in hindsight was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The two easiest ways I’ve found to make discipline easier are; 1) Find yourself an accountability buddy & 2) Set up a daily habit tracker. Doing this made me excited to wake up each day and journal, read 10 pages and then meditate before starting my day, as I knew my accountability buddy would be doing the same.
One of my favourite quotes that became my mantra throughout the lockdowns was: “With crisis, comes opportunity’. I reframed the situation and saw it as an opportunity to improve on myself, to get even further ahead of my competition and to challenge my mind to be creative towards new ideas and ventures that may present themselves.
3. Never Take Things For Granted
I think a common theme that came out of the crisis was the realisation that there were so many things that we took for granted, that were suddenly taken away from us. Whether it be kicking the footy at the park with friends, catching up for Friday night drinks, or even your Sunday morning round of golf, the things we took for granted were soon sorely missed. After the initial adaptation period to lockdowns, I began to find more and more things to be grateful for, that I never fully realised I had.
I became immensely grateful for the cobweb covered weights hiding in the back of the garage, grateful for the fact that I had enough balcony space to set up a net to hit golf balls into (minus the odd shank), and grateful for the fact that I actually had family, food, warmth and a beautiful home to live in. No matter what situation we’re in, the external circumstances only affect us as much as we let it. If you choose to be grateful for even the smallest things every day, your life and the world around you will become wonderfully different.
As much as I didn’t enjoy the lockdowns, it tested me in ways that I’d never experienced and the lessons I’ve learned will serve me well into the future.