- Dennis Rongo
For many years, I always stand by this idea that if you're not growing, you're regressing. I heard this idea once on one of my senior courses back in college over a decade ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I always go back with to this phrase and it has propelled me in my career thus far.
My career has been in software development from day one, ever since I finished college. It was the career that I chose and from the start, my mindset has been to become the best software developer that I can ever be. I want to know everything that there is to know, which these days is very unrealistic for anyone working in or trying to get in this space. I set an expectation or a goal for myself and I strive to push myself to meet that goal.
My definition of growth
I defined growth as being better than I was the year prior, and that is to learn something new every year. Since I'm a software engineer, that was to learn a new technology and be able to master that specific skill(s) every single year. Learning something means that I need to be able to put it into action, and use it in practice. I was growing my skills but I put fitness in the back burner.
I neglected my health and conformed to how I was physically. I was working out but only focused on the workout side of things, and zero attention to what I eat. I wasn't happy with how I look but I decided to be content and accept it. My doctor told me that I was obese, but yet failed to accept it and make changes. Even with all the information that's available to us, I failed to connect the dots, partly because I was a.) too stubborn to change, and 2.) didn't know how to start.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire country to shut down, it gave me some time to reflect. We spent a lot of time indoors and I actually took a moment to stop and think about my fitness level and my career. I appreciate being able to spend time with the kids and the family. It was honestly a blessing in disguise for me since I never ever took the time to pause and spend time with myself.
During summer, I set out to put myself in a new fitness routine. For the longest time, I was in bodybuilding mode. I did a little bit of functional type of routine and crossfit for a little while, many years ago. I was stubborn and refused to re-invent myself physically --bodybuilding splits are my crutch and always fall back on it when things doesn't work out. ###Time to re-invent I incorporated fasting while doing restricted calories, and from July to November, I lost a total of 40+ pounds. I might have lost quite a bit of muscles in the process, but I feel amazing. I went from weighing 265 pounds to 220 pounds in a matter of 4 months. I also started adding a lot of bodyweight movements as part of my routine. I love being able to walk, run or being able to move a certain way, effortlessly.
The best part of it all, my mind is clearer, and I feel like I can conquer anything. I am a very motivated person to begin with, but being physically in shape gives me an extra edge. My goal now is to never return to that overweight self and strive to keep improving from here on out. I understand that everything flows internally to externally (mentally then physically) but feeling good physically really drives my mental being. It's like that scene from "limitless" where I can visualize everything come together.
Late September in 2020 is when I started putting all my thoughts and ideas into my journal. I have an app where I would log everything --my goals, what I'm grateful for (very important), achievements, and what makes the day memorable. I want to be able to go back to these ideas, a year or many years from now, and be able to see my thought process, or where I was in life.
I also take pictures of my kids and family on a daily basis and attach it as part of the journal. Since the kids grow so fast, I want to be able to preserve these moments and look back into those photos and relive them. I haven't missed a day of journaling and taking photos of the kids so far, and it can be difficult at times. I keep myself accountable, and it has now become a habit to record and recap my day into my digital journal.
I'm hungrier than ever before and I started working on myself and what I want to achieve even before 2021 started. 2021 much like 2020 is just a number to me. I don't look at each year as a new opportunity to make a change but instead, I measure growth on a daily basis. I write where I'm at on a fitness level including my weight and my goal on a macro level. I spend at least an hour a day reading a book, and listening to audiobooks. I am on Pluralsight or Udemy and adding more skills to my arsenal.
I also have been spending a lot of time learning the business side of real estate, and the process (more on this on a future blog). And more importantly, spend more time with the kids either by taking them to the park, teach my 5 years old son some math, or play Frozen with my 2 years old daughter.
If I'm not spending time with my family, I'm educating myself every single day and spending my time each day with a purpose. Life is too precious and short to be spent on things that in the end doesn't contribute to my growth. See you on the next post.