• Cass Lau

Dear 2019, please don't follow me into 2020

Most of us set goals, i.e. “Resolutions”, that we set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year. How many a time do we actually follow through with these resolutions? Or even look back to see what we can check off the list?


I know that “GOALS-SETTING” has become a controversial topic of late. After all, goals determine the end point, but creating and sustaining SYSTEMS ensures long-term sustainability and continuity.


Helloooo it's me (not a horror show)

Even James Clear sets out in his book some nuggets of wisdom:

The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.

Whilst I have moved away from “goals-setting” in my own approach, I still pen these down as “Best Hopes” or guiding points to which my habits and actions should follow.


They would then serve as that litmus test for my actions. After all, we all have the same 24h in a day. What you choose to do with that time will determine how successful you are compared to another person.


Hence, asking questions like “Would devoting my time to doing [action xx] get me closer towards my goal?”


If the answer is YES, then go do it! knock yourself out. #whateverittakes to get you where you want to be (legally of course). On the flip side, if the answer is NO, then walk away. Turn down the offer, throw away that notion, delete that app. Because it’s not worth investing time that could increase exponentially, just because you said yes to that one thing one time.

I’ve gotten better at saying “no”. Often beating around the bush because I’d hate disappointing people but learning that that one simple word can buy me a ton of time that could be better used to do something else.


Recently I was asked to join an “interest group” of sorts. I said “OK” at first because the people in the group (and the person who asked me) were people i held very dearly to me, and i FOMO-ed the last year when they did that activity. Also, I had a need to improve on that skill too, so I thought it would be a good opportunity.


A little voice in my head said that it wouldn’t be in line with my goals and the regrets came in after. So instead i have a holding reply. I needed a friend to verbalise what I had going through my head before I could reject the offer.


Me & Mimi. Not sure how this photo is relevant but this one's a cutie <3

My Goals for 2019

That lengthy prologue finally lands us at this point where I must reevaluate where I am. Have I gotten closer to what I set out early this year to accomplish?


I have a list (I always do, sometimes a little longer than practicality would), but I will share a select few:

  • Establishing a routine in my spiritual walk

  • Building a daily routine around my work and training

  • Getting better in Gymnastics







#1 Establishing a routine in my spiritual walk

Tied closely to the second goal for the year is the knowledge that I need to build my life upon God. That is, daily devotion and ministry before I’d get lost in the race of chasing deals and my own training.


I wanted to put God at the forefront of my day as I knew that with this year of transition out of a routined work-life — where I could easily set a time for devo with a 9-to-5 job (just a term... the job is in actual fact ends later than that) — would be more challenging with the freedom in time and my flexible schedule.


To keep myself accountable, I agreed to post my reflections from the daily devotional on a groupchat with my cell groups. Even when the passages are hard to understand, these have been keeping me focused on His will above my own, even in the most trying times.


Final count: I am like 60% consistent 😣

(AT LEAST its 60% more than I used to be?)


#2 Build a Routine for Work

This took alot more in terms of discipline as changes to my coaching schedule could be erratic. And to all the people who were like "oh your schedule is flexible now, you must be so happy! more time to sleep... etc."


WRONG.


It meant working odd hours and having to plan which days I could sleep early and which I had no choice but to sleep a little later. It meant working late some days to rush out collateral and giving up bits of my weekend to attend events. It meant learning more than doing because ain't nobody got a degree in "figuring out how to make money". It meant planning out meetings and trainings to fit the schedule and making myself MOVE even on days I felt sluggish. And it meant putting my foot down to requests for schedule changes or last-minute assignments (unless I really did not have a choice).


On the side, I entertained myself with the mildly ignorant who saw me as living the like of a "tai tai" (rich lady who marries into wealth and can sponge of her husband for a living) with thoughts as follows:

  • ONE: Get annoyed with everyone who assumes you are more "free" because your schedule is flexible.

  • TWO: Turn down meeting these people because they really are not worth your time (and also to prove a point that you are not "free")

  • THREE: Smile and nod when they make comments that tick you off because they really are not worth responding too.

  • FOUR: Get on with life because each second at work is worth far more than that second responding to them.

Yes, I can be quite a b*tch in my head. Also, I visualize an average of 2 scenarios of morbid deaths when I cross the road/walk around in my gym when people lift weights.

So I have set up a few rules around what I need to get done each week:


1. Continue to post on this blog (especially when I have a pocket of time on holidays) to practice writing because I am RUSTY and I continue to entertain my lifelong dream to one day write/illustrate a book.


I also continue to post on my personal instagram pages for the same reasons (including structure & photography), and to keep me involved in the platforms I work with.


2. I deliberately schedule time on certain days of the week to work on designing. Exploring new tools on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and even the Social Media sites to ensure that I am up-to-date with what is happening.


@casslauu.psd was an account I created to post my design experiments. I decided that I would post anything and everything even if it's just practice and not actually the final work or for a project. I needed to have that out there to believe in what I saw as beautiful, rather than fall into the trap of only posting what I thought other people would want to see. And besides, practice makes perfect!


3. Programme & POST the workouts on WODIFY (the management app we use for the box's daily workouts) on a specific day of the week for my Olympic Lifting Class, the Sunday Athlete Training Plan, and other programming for PT.


4. Schedule Social Media Posts on specific days and times. Reminders and timed posts help! Especially when you NEED to catch the right time to hit your follower's eyeballs.


Let's end at 4, since that seems to be the magic number of this post.


#3 Getting Better at Gymnastics

Jordan Bender (if ya know then ya know) said that his coach, Ben Schwartz would tell people "you have to get better at Gymnastics," and that would be a euphemism for "you have to lose weight".


It was plain to see that nutrition would be the number ONE priority for me to work on.


Had I not received >some< *strikethrough* ALOT OF help this year I would maybe have content with being a fatkid who couldn't do a muscle up for the rest of my life.


ANYHOW, discipline was key to not reaching out for snacks, the ONE RING in my life-version of LoTR. Its duality in the precious little fat/sugar bites which made me momentarily happy BUT the bain of my nutrition journey because once you pop, you can't stop. (you might well see a very fat Gollum had he chose the Hello Panda biscuits over the One Ring)

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Ben Bergeron, a renowned CrossFit Coach and businessman said that the most disciplined people don't have good SELF-CONTROL as many make them out to be. Rather, they don't have to face temptation because they remove temptation from their lives. To do this, I had to design my environment for success.

oh yes I had a quiet Christmas this year. Hence the pretty dope MFP macros.

I sent my MyFitnessPal reports to my friend who committed to help me EVERY DAY. EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DAY.


And it wasn't just the piechart seen on the left. It was the full page with what I had exactly to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, AND SNACKS. That meant that nothing escaped her purview. After being questioned about some of my food choices and being challenged to make better ones, things started falling into place. Old habits were left behind and new routines were created.


(After a while, I was really more concerned about how boring it was to send these every day and taking up her cyberspace with these screenshots.)


It definitely wasn’t easy. Life's waaaay simpler to live on auto-pilot. For me, that would mean to let loose and not give second thought to food choices, particularly on days where you’re tired or it’s THAT TIME of the month (not Christmas).


I must admit, I have MANY A TIME entertained the thought of just giving up and going back to my old ways of phake management of what goes through my digestive tract with ZERO results.

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But i bit the bullet and stuck to it. I trusted in the process and decided that I was sick of failing. And as I did so, results started to come. In the LONG TERM of course. Had i stopped 3 months into it I would be back at the start, having not made a dent whatsoever.


OF COURSE I had to put more work into my bodyweight training as well. That meant deliberately planning more gymnastics sessions even if that meant giving up improvements in weightlifting and metabolic conditioning for the time being. This had its fair share challenges as well, what with visible progress to gymnastics being much slower in comparison to the former two (with weightlifting and metcons, progress can be measured on a more objective scale: weight, time, reps, etc. vs. gymnastics where increments in reps are hard to come by).

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For us unlucky few to which gymnastics do not come by as easy, it is a game of patience. Playing the waiting game is tough for me (I am about as patient as a child after drinking a gallon of water with a bladder the size of a pea).


The bottom line: improvements have been made but there is a longer road ahead. And receiving 12 rolls of gymnastic tape for Christmas this year has reminded me of that fact: that the pursuit never ends.






If you read this far you deserve a little nugget to PROVE that I did set these goals on 31 Dec 2018.

WELL it ain't a 10/10 but it's pretty good IMO. There have been years where event a 10% completion rate has been hard to come by.


SOME BONUS GOALS HIT:

  • <80kg bodyweight. At least that's what my bathroom scale says. I'll take it.

  • Fit into some of my old clothing

  • FINDING A NEW LOCATION FOR THE BOX. yassssss i will leave this story and thanksgiving for another time, but YAS GOD YOU ARE SO GOOD

  • oh and hitting 1k followers organically on the Actualize Instagram:)

Other Bucket List Add-ons:

  • Having an office space

  • also, I really want to write/illustrate a book.


I'm excited. Bring it on 2020!

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