It began in my early teens. I’d be the one to go to bed by 21:00hrs. Tired or not I’d wish my mum goodnight and head to bed. I didn’t really know at an early age the significance of this, the significance of a routine. For me, I needed sleep to operate. I also needed sleep in order to wake up early and have breakfast. I was always one to have breakfast before I left for school and still do this now before I go to work, whatever time that is, I’d wake up earlier if my work day was starting earlier. I knew some kids and adults who didn’t and don’t have breakfast in the morning and their reason was / is “I get to sleep more” or “I was too tired”. Fair one I guess but that life was and is not for me. I wanted to eat – I guess I was a little on the chubby side as a youth, even if my friends would say I wasn’t. When I look back at photos, I had a little flab but it was all cool.

Making my bed – another thing I did from a very early age. I don’t mean making it whenever or however, it was made in the morning after I had let out last night’s food down the shit bowl and after brushing my teeth. My bed was made, with no creases. Again, I wasn’t aware of the significance and impact this would have in my life later in my teens and into my 20’s and 30’s. I had a couple of friends who didn’t think doing their bed was important or, left it for their mum to do. I’d go over to their place after school for some time on the play station and their room was a tip; plates everywhere, clothing all over the place and bed not made. Even in my early teens, this would surprise me. I couldn’t fathom how someone could live like this.

I’d hate to come home from school to a mess. That could mean dishes in the sink, bed not made, clothes everywhere. I’m not saying this didn’t happen but I can’t remember a time it did. I was made to do things from a very early age in order to help my mum following a major operation in 1997. I’d stand on a stool and do the dishes for her when she was too tired or too ill. I’d do my bed so she didn’t have to. Other habits would enter my life and these were small habits but habits nonetheless – charging my phone [s] every night; taking water with me every time I would leave the house for work; taking my food to work with me so I wouldn’t splurge; having the same breakfast every morning etc etc

As the years went by, these routines remained and were instilled in me going into my late teens and 20’s. I started training at this training Studio and hired the help of a personal training when I was around 26. This wasn’t just going to a gym and throwing weights around without a purpose. Everything we did had a purpose. Everything was measured and tracked. This is the point where I stated to instil habits around my nutrition and timings. I became more disciplined. In my 20’S, I wouldn’t say I was strict but I did try to be mindful of what I ate but without the knowledge and purpose. My coach Sam Hanney (owner of Ufit studio in Leicester) gave me this knowledge. It allowed me to do things instinctively and things went from being a chore, to being part of my everyday life. Some may find this boring but I had a purpose and reason behind it. I would prep my food for the week on a Sunday. This started as prep for 3 days but then went to the week. This was only the protein element of my food as this would take the longest to do in the week individually and in turn, allow me to keep on track. I did this so i didn’t have to worry about it in the week. There were other things to worry about in life. Yes food is important, very important so I needed to prioritise it in order to give me further time later in the week to prioritise other things. Again, other than physically, I couldn’t see the importance of having routines and habits for the first year or 2. I realised the importance following my brother’s first episode in hospital following an overdose 2012 and him being in hospital for 2 months after his liver transplant. What kept me going (other than family and friends); my food routine and my gym routine! There was more to this than training and eating well just to look good naked. This was a mindset and discipline

factor which had a major impact on me. It gave me a purpose away from the madness that was occurring around me. It gave me an escape to go to the gym and put my all into ME! My nutrition gave me the freedom to feel good. What if I hadn’t had these habits instilled within me – would I have spiralled out of control in eating and not training – then what – I wouldn’t look good and in turn would feel worse. I’m not saying that’s what would have happened but to me, that was the consequence and I couldn’t think of anything worse. The same occurred in 2013 after my brother lost the battle and died. The habits were still there – I was well into them and nothing was going to stop me. Was the gym an escape – it was. But it was also part of who I was. The guy who trains, the guy who looks ok (good I used to be told) – I’m being honest! My brother died on October 7th 2013 and I was in the gym at 06:30 on October 8th 2013 as I had a session planned. For some, this may sound over the top and unnecessary – but for me, I had my mindset to think about. I was convinced I’m stronger than anyone I know (mentally) and still believe it to this day when I type this paragraph, 13th Feb 2020. What we do today, influences tomorrow.

Fast forward 6 months and I had a spell of 1 month where I did spiral out of control. I didn’t feel good and some days, I wanted to die. I stopped conducting my habits that were previously my pillars. I was grieving. What got me back on track – my habits! I started taking my next step and eating well and going to the gym again, like I used to. That is the only thing I changed following the downward spiral and it changed my life, again! This is when I realised that I had instilled habits that would save my life. These habits saved my life.

My mum died in January 2016 – you guessed it. These habits remained. They once again saved my life. I didn’t have to worry about my mindset to an extent I knew I had certain pillars that would hold me up, even when I was down and they continue to do that. Some call this too strict or too disciplined but I’m ok with that. I’m happy with it. There is a time and place for me to deviate from this and unless that time or place has a positive impact in my mood, I will not deviate.

I didn’t feel this in my teens but my long winded point here is you cannot take one step and expect to get to the top of the staircase. You must continue to take those steps and eventually you will get there.

Thanks for reading

Rishi_tyns – #tyns356

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