New Year, New Rules …

Well,  not exactly …

I’ve recently been reading on facebook how a lot of my friends are determined to change their ways for the better. It usually starts by creating resolutions like cutting down alchohol, or stopping smoking, and then after the novelty has worn off many of them go back to the old rules. I’ve realised that it’s not new rules I need for 2011 but I need to jump back three years and apply those rules.

Back in 2007 for those who don’t know: I was working in a job to pay the bills (rather than because it was going somewhere for a career) and I was unhappy (for a number of reasons, not solely the job) and I decided to do something about it at the end of 2006. So I started training regularly at Progressive Fighting Systems Stafford (at Elite 2000) learning how to fight in combat sports, where it sparked my passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).

Before that I had my heart set on competing in an amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) competition but at the weight / height I was at I felt like I’d give up a lot to my competition before I even took technique and relative inexperience  into account.I decided that the best way forward was to drop some excess weight and so I went on a journey from January to August losing weight. I think I lost around 3 or 4 stone in that time, and I felt amazing, though there were many stops and starts. The knock-on effects were that I got fitter, I felt healthier and my well-being improved. Cause and effect really.

Then I had to move out of my house because one of the people I lived with, didn’t want to pay his bills or work for a living. So I left for University and set my sights on Birmingham to train with the team I’d been training with to prepare for my first BJJ competition – Gracie Barra Birmingham. After negotiating clearing with Newman University College, formerly College of Higher Education, I enrolled in September 2007. I kept up with my training and played sport regularly with the Men’s Uni Rugby team.

It lasted for a while but honestly I made excuses and went back to old ways trying to substitute the training for the healthier living I wasn’t doing, but my body was only making minor adjustments at this time so I didn’t pay much attention to it. After Christmas I got into a relationship and eventually, like many men (and others) do, I got comfortable and lost sight of who I was. It was often remarked on that the one thing that separated me from a lot of other people was my passion and dedication for BJJ.


2010 – A year of mixed feelings and mixed results

Last year my goals were short and simple:

  1. Grow up. I felt like I was acting like 21 not 25.
  2. Graduate from University with grades I felt reflected what I got out of the process.
  3. Get back to the real world, find a job, a house and reacclimatise myself outside of student living.


January – April: The last four months of my degree.

May – July: At the end of my degree I left depressed and without a direction. This created a very bad spiral for me and left me without motivation to do anything. At a time when I should have been out looking for work I was putting it off because I needed time to relax after my degree. This made moving home difficult for me because I was going to miss out on a lot of great friends I met at Uni and a lifestyle that I enjoyed. I was effectively having to start again. This time in a town without a great reputation for jobs. My success, post-graduation, has been pitiful in my own estimation. I can’t compare against other people, or even other graduates, because I’m not in those circles. I apply for jobs I think I’ve got a chance of getting the interview with and some get back to me. Pubs, Supermarkets and jobs like that haven’t got back to me. Graduate level employers have, for the most part.

August – December: In August I decided I wanted to stay within performing arts / drama and felt that secondary teaching would be one way of utilising my skills to their best potential and keeping me involved with something that I love and has driven me to succeed post 16. So I applied for a PGCE and I’ve had a couple responses but they’ve identified the weaknesses that I already knew about anyways (those that have responded so far).



1, Get off your ass: I need to make a concerted effort to get out of the house even if it’s not job related and do something productive. Perhaps the gym would be a positive effort two or three times a week for an hour or two? On top of the MMA sessions you’re doing again on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

2, Do your College work: There’ll be no excuses come exam time in July so you need to make sure you don’t put off your maths work. If you want to be a teacher you need to improve your grade to a C, so sort yourself out.

3, Prioritise: The year ahead will be full of suprises and challenges – make sure you take stock of where you’ve come from and got to. You didn’t do enough of that at Uni and you need to make sure that your achieving your goals.

4, Work: Even if it’s not for regular money make sure your doing something worthwhile. If your achieving things you can stick that on your CV and that’ll mean more than just filling time.

5, Put relationships first: One of my major flaws was that I always put the needs of the organisation above my own and the people around me. I need to make an effort to be dependable otherwise what am I good for? I won’t be employed if I can’t commit to people and come through for them.


My goals for this year are:

  • Learn to Drive
  • Blog more
  • Focus on your artistic side
  • Return to being fit and healthy
  • Enjoy life

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