The featured picture is of the aftermath of a wildfire in California. I chose it because 2016 seems to have been a tough year for many people, and for the wider world at large.

If you had a difficult year look forward, better days lie ahead.

The following is just some stuff that has resonated with me this year, particularly toward the tail end.

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Remove doubt, it has killed more dreams than failure ever has.

You probably have tons of stuff you want to do, yet you doubt you can do it.

If you can start believing in yourself more it’s a very powerful thing.

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Words matter. The way you speak to a friend, a child, a partner, a stranger…it can all have a profound effect.

Be mindful of how you speak to people.

Are you sowing seeds of doubt in someone?

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We live in a beautiful country, get outside and go for a long walk/hike once a week. This is for head space just as much as it is for exercise.

Make sure you’re aware of all the beauty around you.

Don’t let these things slip by, take time every now and then to stop and take it in – even if it is just 30 seconds.

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That small group of close knit friends you have – meet regularly, the importance of those friendships is hard to quantify with words – they should never be neglected.

Time passes by, people come and go, life happens…these people will be there regardless.

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Surround yourself with good people, but make sure that goodness is reciprocated.

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Review your thoughts and actions regularly. Does your work ethic match your level of happiness?

If you’re unhappy with yourself yet spend lots of your time watching t.v and/or out at the weekend – stop complaining about being unhappy and do something about it.

Life is short, don’t let it pass you by.

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Try your best to get ahead, but not at the expense of anyone else i.e don’t be a dick.

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Don’t be someone who ‘takes’ and ‘asks for’ all the time, but doesn’t ‘give’.

Support your friends and family, support people you admire and respect.

The time will come when you need support back, you’ll have earned the ‘take’.

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Celebrate your victories, it’s easy to be hard on yourself (the world will do that anyway).

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If something goes wrong always look inward and analyse what you could have done better. The easiest thing is always to point the finger of blame at something else.

When you do this analysis, be objective and try remove emotion. Look at the big picture.

Don’t get caught up with ‘I failed’ or ‘that wasn’t good enough’. 

A chance to improve is a brilliant thing, programme yourself to believe that.

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Always strive for success, if you’ve got problems this is the quickest way back to happiness.

You’ll get there (eventually).

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Read more, I’ve never met anyone who ‘reads too much’. I’m not claiming to be brilliant at this, I have to constantly remind myself to try…but I’m always glad I do.

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Exercise, a good night’s sleep and clean living is key to a healthy mind.

If you struggle with your mental health but don’t live a healthy lifestyle…well, best of luck.

Trust me on this.

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The magic exercise rep scheme you’re looking for is 3-4 x 52. That is ‘train 3-4 times a week 52 weeks a year’.

This is unlikely to happen ‘because life’, but you get the idea.

Try it for a year and see how you feel/look.

Magic.

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If you already train regularly, keep your relationship with it in check.

Just because something is good for you does not mean it cannot become unhealthy.

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Learn to look at things from a perspective other than your own.

Ask questions, listen to the answers.

You’ll learn a lot about other people, you’ll learn a lot from other people, but more importantly you’ll learn a lot about yourself.

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I read this recently… ‘I wouldn’t be mad at my hammer for being a poor screwdriver, but to the man with only a hammer everything looks like a nail.’

Perspective.

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Did I mention about listening?

People don’t listen enough.

In the same breath – do not waste your time listening to someone who clearly doesn’t value your time.

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You can get a ton of good work done under pressure.

When you get comfortable – this is usually when life decides to flip the table over.

Stay busy.

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You can get some of your best work done when influenced by something negative.

Not everything needs to come from a positive, and if we are all honest with ourselves most of the time it doesn’t come from that anyway.

‘You’re not happy with how you look. Someone told you you’re putting on weight. Someone broke your heart.’

The fire from negativity burns brighter ten-fold, which is good because it means you won’t need a lot.

I use it.

It makes me uncomfortable enough to always want to push on and be productive day to day.

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Be more patient.

I injured my shoulder(s) towards the end of 2015. I had been swapping mails with my physio and I suggested spending ‘the next year’ (all of 2016) taking great care in getting them right again. 

I expected a reply along the lines of ‘you should be fine in a few weeks/months’.

What I got was ‘yes, a year sounds realistic’.

A year sounds like a long ass time, but 15 months later here I sit writing this blog post.

I was forced to be patient.

I learned an incredible amount working through different programmes and trying to look after myself as best as possible, and yes – pain free shoulders was the outcome!

People are in such a hurry to get results and lack patience. I see it with clients, and it’s something I’ve had to address personally too.

If you can be more patient, if you can stick with the plan long term – you will succeed.

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One guarantee in life is that time will pass, what you do in that time is up to you.

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Thanks to everyone for all the support in 2016, if you’ve read any of my blogs – a sincere thank you.

I hope you found it interesting or it helped in some way, even if that is just to think of things from a different point of view.

It has been an huge outlet for me, and has helped me immensely.

I wish you all the best for 2017 and beyond.