Posts tagged ‘personal development’

How to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic healthier wealthier and better overall

Make 2021 a productive year
Make 2021 a productive year

Here is the problem with the current pandemic we are living in, other than the obvious health and economic implications impacting billions around the world: it is the fact that it came almost unannounced and that we have no end date in sight. It would have been much easier if we were told, for example, that the pandemic will last for 6 months (e.g March 10 to October 10) and we all go back to our normal lives after that. But it has been more like a playoff hockey game, where we have 3 periods, followed by overtime that could go on and on until someone scores a goal. While we can see some light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from seeing this thing through. In fact, for Canada at least, we are being told the population as a whole will not get vaccinated in full until early to mid 2022. And considering that pandemic restrictions and curfews started in March 2020, that will be a full 2 years that we will have to put up with living our lives in seclusion and isolation from one another and our usual leisure activities etc. For pre-teens for example, that almost one quarter of their life spent in mandatory isolation from society!

That means, at least for most of us, we have only finished the first half of this boring and dangerous game called Covid19: the second half is yet to start and will last through much of this fresh year and early next year. Unless there is a big breakthrough that will massively scale vaccine production and delivery to Canada and other parts of the world, which doesn’t seem likely at this point. So, with so much more free time on our hands, why not do something useful with it, so that when it is all said and done, these 1-2 years of your life will not be defined by Covid19, pandemic and vaccines, but rather how you used it to advance your life in every area possible. I did it myself already and you can too. Let me go through some of what I was able to accomplish in 2020, and what I would like to continue doing for 2021, until we see us through this once in a lifetime pandemic.

Heath

When the pandemic started, in my first week of working from home and with my GYM being closed, I literally looked at my wife and said: “how will we do this?” it was a week in which I opened the door to our fridge more than I opened any other door in the bedroom or the entire house. That was March. Then came April and something changed. Despite the weather still being cold-even snowy at times-I started to walk, sometimes alone and sometimes with my wife who was off work due to the lock-down. Then in June, as some restrictions were eased, our local trails and hiking parks reopened and i started to frequent them on a semi-daily basis. I also bought dumbbell sets to work out at home, during my breaks from work. To put it into prospective, by the time the lock-downs started, I was around 180 lbs and by new year’s eve, I had gone down to 167 lbs, and body fat from 25% to 17%! That is 13 lbs loss and 8% body fat reduction, with no GYM! All because I took the decision to walk and work out, even with no formal GYM to go to. Last but not least, using my Apple Watch, I am currently on a 203 day move streak, going all the way back to July 12! That is how long I have been active on a daily basis.

Wealth

I am proud to say I spent the entire lock-down so far without once shopping off Amazon, unlike the majority of the population! With not much to do, I saved most of my money and I did two things that will benefit me tremendously for the long term: first, I bought stocks when the market bottomed out in late March, and again during the summer and fall. Every single one of these positions were in blue chip high-yielding stocks. Combined, I will be making over $1800 in annual dividend returns ($450 a quarter) . The other thing I did with all the money saved during the lock-down was to pay off my line of credit balance of $8,500. It would have been close to impossible to do this had there been no lock-down, where i would have otherwise spent my money in a multitude of ways. Between the two (LoC payment + dividends), I now have $600 of net monthly income that I am saving/getting.

Self Development

Depending on how you define this, to me it is the process or steps you take to develop your character, learn new things, or help you reach new goals in life. Going by this definition, 2020 was one of my best years ever. The things I was able to accomplish speak for themselves and prove that you can turn an otherwise terrible year into something productive and better yourself in the process. To start, and this is as synonymous as it gets with the concept of self development, this was a record year for book reading for me. I was able to read a total of 20 books, compared to my average of 3-5 books on average. Not only that, but some of these books were business and technology references, one of which helped me earn an industry-recognized certificate specific to my profession. 2020 was also a year in which I found a huge new interest in audio-books and podcasts. For the latter, I have even developed a new hobby: podcast driving. This is the act of driving for leisure while listening to my favorite podcasts shows. From March to December, I listened to around 500 podcast episodes, in a variety of topics.

Don’t let another year go to waste, start now!

I am not here to download the seriousness of Covid-19 and the terrible human loss for millions of people around the world. But the point is to not let it define us. If 2020 was defined by a pandemic and lock-down, and nothing else for you, you still have time to make 2021 better and more productive year. Start by setting some small but specific short term goals: how about finishing a book, losing 5 lbs, saving $1,000 and so on. As you start and gain some momentum, you will notice wanting to go for more and then the sky is the limit. Think of a snowball that starts small and as it goes down the hill, it gets bigger and bigger.

As you read at the start of this article, I started with a simple question and a simple walk, and those progressed into much bigger goals and accomplishments. And in fact, I am even more fired up for 2021. For January, and thanks to a milder weather so far, I have walked almost every day, for a minimum of 30 minutes. My fear was that I would start gaining some weight back during the cold winter months. Thankfully, that never materialized and I have kept the weight off. As they say, if I can do it, so can you. In fact, you may be be able to do more than I do, depending on your personal circumstances (whether you have a family, kids, full time job etc) . I would love to hear some success stories of how people used these pandemic months and years to better themselves and start a new chapter in their life that will forever change them for the better. Ditch the countless hours of Netflix binge-viewing and Tiktok scrolling and pick a book, go for a daily walk, or start a new online course!