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- This was me:
- Chronic fatigue. I wake up tired every day.
- Stomach pain. I had stomach aches every day.
- Difficulty in concentration. I wasn’t able to focus on the tasks I was doing.
- Running “all day long”. I had the impression of being running from here to there all day long, without stopping, without any break.
- Not moving forward in projects and goals. I had the sensation of just extinguishing fires all day, but not evolving at all in my life.
I could be listing more negative sensations, but I think you get the idea.
I have to say I wasn’t depressed, because I’m a positive person, and obstacles in life just give me even more motivation/energy to overcome them, but I felt that I didn’t like that way of living, because I guessed my life could be much better (and I deserved it).
You have to think positive and believe in yourself to achieve positive things in life.
Nobody has won anything thinking he was going to lose.
I was just 40 years old that year. Maybe it was the 40s crisis? I don’t know. Anyway, I felt this way for a long time.
I decided to take action into this situation, and in this article, I will share with you all the steps I’ve done within these last 5 years.
It’s been a long way, and I didn’t make all these steps at once. I will tell you when I made them, what worked, what didn’t, and you will have to decide if any of them make sense to you.
This article’s goal is to synthesize in an “easy-to-read-and-implement” guide a 5-year journey, that’s why I won’t go too deep into each step. My idea is to create individual articles for those topics I consider more interesting/critical.
The idea is that anyone who feels like me in 2016 can take with him/her some practical and clear ideas about what he/she can begin with.
I think that my testimonial could be useful to anyone with any of those symptoms because:
- I’m pragmatic.
- I don’t want theoretical frameworks, impossible to convert into clear and defined actions.
- I like things a kid can perfectly understand.
I always say that if I take with me just ONE idea (a golden nugget, a small gem) after reading a book or any other content, I’m delighted with it. I hope you can achieve that goal by reading this article.
SOME KEY POINTS BEFORE STARTING:
- Don’t try to make all this at once. Just focus on one thing, try it, and keep on building based on a solid foundation.
- Life is long. Your situation, no matter how hard it is, it’s not the end of the world.
- You’ll start slow but, as soon as you get the right pace, you’ll see how you can start adding layers to this project, you will see results faster, and you’ll feel the fulfillment sensation you’re looking for.
I felt terrible about my body. That’s why I started here.
When your body hurts you is when you appreciate health a lot. It’s when those stupid classic quotes have a meaning, such as: “Health is what matters”.
So, I focused on my body as a first stage.
I started visiting a doctor to see if something “was wrong”…
1.1 Medical examination
As I was bad about the stomach, I decided to have a complete revision of my digestive system.
I will avoid describing the lurid details, but, as you can imagine, they put tubes through almost every hole I know in my body (maybe my ears were the only ones saved…).
I also got tested for food allergies.
After this bloody walk, I heard this bittersweet diagnosis: “You’re perfect. Everything’s right”.
I say “bittersweet” because, on the one hand, I was healthy, but, on the other hand, I did not find a clear answer to my stomach pains. I was at the starting point again.
When something like this happens, I’m sorry to say that doctors have a perfect wild card: “STRESS”.
That covers all diseases, pains, unhealthy situations. It’s just “a matter of stress”.
Again, I apologize for saying so but, from the patient’s perspective, it’s useless.
I was convinced this wasn’t about stress because:
- I’m a proactive person.
- I do many things every day…
- … but I don’t feel like I’m stressed out.
At that moment, light shone. Doctor García appeared in my life, and examining my results, asked the miraculous question: “Do you eat yogurt?”.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This question has become an essential quote in my life at the same level as others from Winston Churchill or Julius Caesar.
As I’ll tell you later in this article, I didn’t eat a fruit piece in my life, but I had yogurt after each meal (lunch and dinner). Even though I have made a lactose test and it was negative, yogurts have much more ingredients than lactose.
It was my first big step in this process.
I took yogurts out of my life, and my life changed 180 degrees…
Now that I was lucky to find out my stomach killer, I was convinced to keep going the way I had chosen to follow: the fulfillment one.
My diet wasn’t good at all:
- I didn’t eat a piece of fruit at all.
- I didn’t eat vegetables.
- I drank two cans of beer every day.
- I had French fries like a possessed.
- I had tons of bread.
So I decided to take away all these items:
- Pizzas and pasta.
- French fries.
And I included fruit and vegetables into my diet.
I have to say that I’ve always preferred fish to meat, so I kept on that routine.
Later on, I discovered that it was called a Paleo Diet. For me, it was just common sense and a simple way of thinking:
Even though I’m a skinny guy, 5 years ago, I weighed 83 kg. (182 lb.). After 3 months, I reduced my weight to 70 kg. (154 lb.).
At first, I was scared because I started reducing my weight very fast, and I thought I would become extinct. I guess it was my body’s response whenever I took away all the junk food.
Anyway, you can always visit a doctor or a nutritionist before deciding what to do about your diet if that makes you feel safer. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to win because peace of mind is priceless.
Here, I have to say that I never felt my stomach in such good shape without yogurts and this diet.
This gave me the confidence to try and recover one of the great pleasures of my life: coffee.
Coffee was one of the wrongful convicts talking about my stomach pains. That was why I decided to stop drinking coffee in the past. Recovering coffee in my life has been a unique and fulfilling experience.
A life of fulfillment is just the sum of hundreds or thousands of small little tiny items, as you will see in this article. Coffee was one of them for me.
Reading about topics you’re interested in is a must if you want to learn and evolve in the areas you’re experiencing. That’s how I knew about the Paleo Diet 5 years ago and how I discovered fasting too.
Again, I’m not a professional, so I recommend you to visit a doctor and/or a nutritionist to decide if these steps are right for you or not.
In my case, I started to read and listen to dozens of guys such as Dave Asprey, doctors who were interviewed in Jim Ferriss’ show or Jonathan Levi’s, and many more.
I concluded something. Fasting is something that can be good for you.
”Instead of using medicine, better fast today.”
— Plutarch, Greek biographer and moralist
As I’ve never felt hungry in the morning, I decided to eliminate breakfast from my life.
Nothing terrible has happened to me since then. Just the opposite. I feel:
- More awake than ever.
- With great mental clarity.
- With a lot of energy.
As I said before, things in life are not a matter of “just one thing”. It’s the combination of many things what produces brilliant outcomes. Fasting is just another item on the list.
Ask your doctor or nutritionist because fasting is a whole world in itself, full of combinations, techniques, and so forth. As usually happens nowadays, everything’s as complicated as you want to make it.
If you look for information about fasting, you will find out thousands of studies saying it causes cancer, obesity, or depression, and you will find out studies and testimonials saying it’s excellent to avoid cancer, increase longevity, and perform at your highest level.
This is the crazy world we’re in.
At the same time I started implementing my nutrition strategy, I starting in parallel with physical exercise.
I had practiced physical exercise all my life, but due to work duties, I ultimately left practicing any sport (BIG MISTAKE!).
I had muscle aches all over my body because I spent, at least, 12 hours in front of a screen every day (as you do, I guess…).
I didn’t know what to do, so I did what everyone does: I joined a gym.
At that time, the last time I visited a gym was 20 years ago. Obviously, things had changed. I went to see the room coach, who gave me some basic routines, and I started “my journey” to get in shape.
As it usually happens, I soon got bored with my gym routine, so I started looking for information on the Internet.
There I found a Spanish guy (I’m from Spain) who literally changed my life: Marcos Vázquez. I’m sorry his site’s only in Spanish… But I have to include him here because he completely changed my life.
He showed me a radically different way of training, using my whole body.
Later on, I found out this is something many people know, but, at that time, as a newbie, it was “revolutionary” to me.
I followed Marcos’ training until he started using kettlebells, and I said to myself: “Paco, you can get injured if you keep on trying this on your own”.
That’s the moment (one year after my first step in the gym) I decided to hire a personal trainer.
This may sound like a luxury, but I certainly recommend you to give it a chance if you’ve never tried it. It’s was an amazing and life-changing experience for me.
I reorganized my budget to fit this expense because, in my opinion, it’s worth it.
This was another big step in my life. As I said before, I will never forget my experience.
For me, being healthy was THE PRIORITY, so I was determined to devote all the time, money, and effort needed to make this project a success.
I have had a personal trainer (Carla, thank you so much for all the time you dedicated to me and all the things I’ve learned about training sessions) for 3 years and a half. COVID made it stop.
Isolation forced me to look for alternatives, and I found them again on the Internet.
Finally, I bet on the second one. It’s incredible all the different workout sessions it has.
I didn’t need to have a personal trainer because now I knew the techniques, postures, and how I should combine the different workouts. Now, I perfectly know my body.
And, obviously, this option is much cheaper.
I workout 3 times a week:
- Monday and Thursday, a 50-minute session based on strength (HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training).
- Saturday, a 30-minute session based on cardio training.
I’ve never been in better shape in my life. Not even when I was a teenager or younger. I would say even more: I feel much better year by year.
In 2019 I started reading a lot about yoga, and it caught my eye.
If you want to read about my yoga’s journey, here’s an article I wrote a couple of months ago.
Yoga has been a critical element talking about this 5-year journey.
Introducing it as a daily element in my life brought me a feeling of well-being I cannot describe.
I have to thank the guys of Down Dog for their excellent app.
Yoga gives my muscles, ligaments, and tendons the treatment they need.
The combination of hard workouts and 12-hour sitting is not the best.
Practicing yoga 20 minutes a day gives my body the necessary relaxation to enter the world of total well-being.
I also practice balance, coordination, stretches, flexibility…
Finally, it also takes me to an essential mindset status that I will describe later on.
2. Mindset / growth
“Mens sana in corpore sano.”
So my body started to feel really well after 6 months of training all the practices I’ve described above. Imagine how you feel when you’ve been doing that for 1, 3, or more years!
But we’re not only a body. We’re also a mind, and I’ve always been interested in how our brains work, reading all kinds of “stuff” related to it: neurology, high performance, concentration, focus, motivation, inspiration…
Working on your mindset is vital to achieving that mental state you need to feel great, look for, and join the path to fulfillment everyone wants to achieve.
Your mind will make your body grow, and vice versa.
There are hundreds of ways to work on your mindset, but I will focus on those elements I consider they boosted my life towards happiness.
I’m one of those weird guys who loved philosophy at the age of 17.
At that time, I had never thought about what life was about.
Those men thinking about life made a profound impact on me.
Since then, I’ve been reading philosophy, looking for pragmatic things and concepts to apply to my daily life.
Philosophy taught me a lot about:
- Managing real-life situations.
- Knowing myself better.
- Relating better to people.
Today, it seems everyone knows about stoicism, but 20-25 years ago, it wasn’t so frequent.
I do recommend this philosophical trend because it’s very pragmatic. Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman did a great job in their bestseller “The Daily Stoic”. I recommend it as an easy starting point.
You will get a lot of good advice just by reading philosophy. It will bring to your life the right mindset to live peacefully in the world.
When a lot of people talk and practice something, I always pay attention to it.
So many people can’t be wrong (well, sometimes they are…).
In 2019 I had my first contact with meditation. It was using an app: Insight Timer.
I cannot describe how well I felt, but I couldn’t create the right habit, and I didn’t engage with it.
It was thanks to yoga that I began to practice it daily.
Something key, talking about routines, is connecting a new habit you want to create next to a consolidated one.
Finishing each yoga session, there’s a final resting pose, named Savasana, which is great to start your meditation practice. Just a few weeks ago, Down Dog’s launched its meditation app (also brilliant).
Combining yoga + meditation at the beginning of each day is a life-changing habit to start performing with the perfect state of body and mind.
You will see results pretty soon.
2.3 No rush
One thing I did was to eliminate the rush of my life.
It sounds stupid, but I had always been living “in a hurry”.
Understanding that you don’t need to reply to a mail or an instant message within seconds sounds awkward, but that was the way I lived not so long ago.
Slowing you down is a crucial element to:
- save energy,
- take control of your actions,
- get your life back.
It may sound very theoretical, even mystical, but it’s an essential component of a relaxed life.
When practicing meditation, you practice mindfulness, just focus on the present, in the present moment, forgetting about that future you want to anticipate.
That “back to the present” is the point in which you will stop that “being in a hurry” sensation that consumes so much energy.
You will feel stronger by doing that. Test it!
Learning is something that will bring you a lot of personal fulfillment.
Nowadays, you can find millions of online courses at a very competitive price.
In my case, learning about topics I love, such as personal growth, productivity, or writing, is priceless.
Here I share some of the best courses I’ve enjoyed the last few years:
- Medium Bad Assery, by Tim Denning and Todd Brison. Learning how to write on Medium.
- Digital Business School, by Darius Foroux. Learning how to create a profitable online business.
- Heavy Mental Program, by coach.me. Learning how to train your brain to perform at its highest level.
- 30-Day Future Self Program, by Benjamin Hardy. Learning how to create that future self you’re aiming to.
- Read to lead, by Ryan Holiday. Learning how to take out the most of each book.
- Memory improvement kit, by Anthony Metivier. Memory techniques to improve your short and long term memory.
All that new knowledge will bring you to a new state, in which you will deeply feel you’re progressing, evolving, being a better self.
Those sensations are the ones you need to be motivated, to get the energy you need to work towards your goals. It’s indescribable.
2.5 Online communities
Never before has it been so easy to contact people from all over the world.
Most of the training programs I described above have their own online communities, full of interesting people.
People who will give you different perspectives about life, about how to solve problems.
In this article, I share 6 online communities that changed my life.
Last but not least, because I’m a productivity geek.
Being productive will bring you a lot of benefits to your life.
It will give you beautiful and needed sensations:
- Efficiency. You will dedicate to things the time they deserve.
- Control and security. You will know what to do. Everything will be in its place, waiting for you to be done.
- Prioritize. You will focus on the things you care about. Those that are important. Those that give sense to your life.
Recently I met August Bradley and his PPV system. Again, a life-changing experience.
In October 2020, I moved all my productivity system to Notion, and it’s been, I can say it now, two months later, one of the most significant and most important steps I’ve done in my life.
With this movement, I’ve achieved one critical goal I had been pursuing my whole life: connecting my existing principles to my daily action tasks.
That simple sentence allows me to give sense to my everyday life because I’m 100% sure I’m doing what I should to accomplish those goals that give meaning to my existence, to my life.
I can never be grateful enough to August for what he has brought to my life.
As you can see, it’s been a long journey, but you don’t have to look at it like that.
As soon as you start implementing just one of these steps, your life will begin to change in a matter of 1 or 2 months.
From there, you can keep on growing.
Be a long-term believer. Compound interest will do the rest. Time will be on your side.
Some takeaways I’d recommend to pay attention to and remember:
- The most crucial point is always the journey, not the goals you’re pursuing, because fulfillment is an endless way.
- Enjoy each of your “small” victories. The sum of them is in itself the way to fulfillment.
- If you want to navigate really deep into your inner self, beyond yourself, I highly recommend Michael Singer’s book “The untethered soul”. It’ll be a journey you will never forget.
- “Be selfish”. Let me explain myself. The better version of yourself you are, the better you will feel, the better others will see you, the better you will relate to them. If you really love others, work every day to be the best version of yourself.
I hope you have found here, at least, that golden nugget that may be the seed of your way to fulfillment, which always ends up in happiness.
It worked for me, a simple, humble, and skinny guy