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Last week I saw an Instagram story which played songs that are turning 20 in 2019. Classics like, eh “Livin la Vida Loca” and “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” are now around that long.

I then saw an ad on youtube which was saying something about how great it was to just get the internet going on your computer in the mid to late 90’s.

I first went to college in 1999 and the ads reminded me of a meeting I had with the head of our Business Studies department not long after Christmas that year. Myself and my roommate had to leave our digs quite suddenly (genuinely through no fault of our own) and we came up with the idea of me going to meet her to see if the college could help us find somewhere – or maybe take our huge stress into account on our next exams!!

It quickly became apparent that the conversation wasn’t going anywhere and Department head must have thought I was chancing my arm as she asked “How did you do in your Christmas exams Shane?”

I was happy to reply that I had passed everything, except IT and that I found computers impossible. Obviously the IT lecturer was sitting in the office as well and quickly looked up my result and my attendance record for IT, which was 100%. She sat giving me a sideways look up and down which seemed a mix sympathy at being so thick when it came to computers and wondering was I genuine I exclaimed that “I just can’t get them”. She told me all I had to do was figure out the basics and realise that they will react in the same way for everyone.

As I was walking out of the meeting, the Department Head called me and said “Make sure that you’re being confident in yourself – you’re well able for all of this!”

I listened to “Principles” by Ray Dalio last week and one of the things he said is you should be embarrassed by how stupid you were 12 months ago. I wouldn’t go as harsh as that but like the constant learning idea that he has.

I can happily say that I am a lot better at computers than 20 years ago but how many people can say the same with things like their health, strength and general fitness? Here are a few lessons you could take from my meeting to help you along the way:

1. DON’T LET TIME PASS: This is a cliché but I honestly can’t believe it is 20 years since I started that Degree. I can say I’m delighted at a lot of the things that have happened over the time since and not so delighted about others. However it is definitely the things that I’ve had to work a bit and taken risks for that are the ones that mean the most.

The next 12 months will pass by very quickly so if you are struggling with your fitness, keep going for it and keep celebrating the small wins. It doesn’t get any easier by putting it off for longer.

2. DON’T USE EXERCISE AS A “TIME PASS”: I had a 100% attendance record in IT that year. But being honest it was on a Thursday morning until 12pm and I used to love the craic with some of the group on a Thursday afternoon and ultimately the classes were just a time pass as I waited for the fun.

I read before that something like 70% of people put on weight when they first join a gym in Oz. That’s because they are using their workouts as a time pass – not working hard and then eating what they want after the session. Don’t make this mistake and get double benefit by working hard when you’re in the gym (or finding a gym where you’ll be encouraged to do so!) and then eating properly after.

3. USE ACCOUNTABILITY: The lecturer could make more of an informed decision on me having seen that I was at all the lectures. The more info and accountability that you can gather on your fitness journey the better. Not only will you work harder but you’ll also know what you have to change.

4. IMPROVE INCREMENTALLY: The fact that I can put this on Facebook and ran a couple of small fitness projects online shows that I have improved somewhat with my IT. However it didn’t happen over night and I had to get the basics right. You need to do this with your fitness as well and don’t short circuit (see what I did there) your results by looking for short cuts that will mess up the software of your metabolism etc (sorry I can’t help myself).

5. BELIEVE: This is so so important. I didn’t believe I could get better at IT at the time so being honest I didn’t really try. A business mentorship I am a part of at the moment talks a lot about this because if we don’t believe we can improve we won’t take the necessary actions to improve our businesses. You must believe you can get fitter healthier and stronger to take yourself to the gym and make the necessary adjustments with your lifestyle. So journal about your progress, take small actions every day and celebrate the wins along the way.

Start putting the above in place and not only will the next 12 months training be enjoyable – you’ll also be able to look back and be happy out at the progress they brought…