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– a 5 minute read. 

I’m looking forward to reading the New Year’s Eve Facebook statuses. At this time of year they are a little longer than usual and people get more ‘real’. 

Whether it’s talking about losing weight, ‘killing it’ in business or “being happier”, the statuses normally start with a review of the previous year: “2015 was great/challenging/a mess”.

They then go on to include a paragraph of achievements, and end with something along the lines of: “2016 is going to be the best year, like, ever”.

Side note: I do find it interesting that we often find hope in the stuff that hasn’t happened yet, or in a vision, instead of taking action right now. We all do it, to some degree, from time to time.


Is this just one of those statuses in blog form I hear you ask? Maybe. However, there are a few reasons why I want to write how I am going to change things in January 2016:

1) Over the years, New Year’s Resolutions have gotten a bad rap and, by definition, you can call this a resolution. However, I believe it’s the intent for the resolution that changes the feelings towards it.

For me, it’s not that January is a new year, it’s more that January follows the carnage that comes with a Christmas break and surrounding myself with beers and cheese. And cake. For example, I have literally consumed more alcohol in the past week than I have all year.

Call it what you want… keep me out of it!

2) I know from experience that I can stick to a plan. There’s a chance that others may gain some motivation or inspiration from reading this.


Here’s my thing… I want to be more efficient.

My good friend and mentor Dave Stroud held a great talk at the VocalizeU Winter Retreat a few years back where he spoke about the difference between ‘structure’ and ‘chaos’ in someone’s life. The difference between being little Miss organised and Mr let’s just go with the flow. He suggested that we need both, and finding an appropriate balance of the two is a plan for great success.

It turns out that, over the past few months, I’ve been loving the chaos. Snoozing the alarm clock, rushing meditation, skipping workouts and still feeling like I’m always running out of time for other things.

And the last line is the most important here and something that can be changed with a few small steps. The truth is, I want to end each day feeling (just a tiny bit) more in control.


The Twenty Rule

There are a number of really beneficial daily activities I want to complete, all of which I have been doing on and off for years. I want to see what happens if I create time and space to do these wonderful things more consistently.

From books and articles I’ve read, people I’ve spoken to and from my own experience, the number ’20’ always comes up as the magic number. I’ve given an explanation below each activity.

Basically EVERYTHING is given a 20 minute window for completion.

You’ll see I have assigned an approximate time of day to the activities as I have found this is always necessary to make sure it’s completed.


Wake up:

1) 20 minutes meditation.

I have been meditating for around 10 minutes, most mornings, for the past year. After witnessing the changes, I am excited to do more. It needs to be before I leave in the morning, or else it doesn’t happen. I’ll follow Tara Brach’s guided meditations or follow my personal approach as in this blog.

2) 20 minute breakfast

The Body Coach on Instagram is a seriously great resource for quick, healthy, meals. It’ll mainly be centred around eggs though.

Most days, I leave the house at 7.30am and so you can see that, in January 2016, I will not be able to snooze the 6.30am alarm. Sad face.


Throughout the day:

3) 20 minutes stretching  

I seriously neglected stretching during the bodybuilding based workouts of previous years. And as a result, the ‘two hour, 500mg a caffeine fuelled’ gym days have contributed to some pretty impressive full body tension. You are allowed to call me plank-man… at least until I succeed in making stretching a daily routine. This will be done before or after the gym, or before bed, depending on the day.

4) Read 20 pages a day

Check out James Clear’s awesome article on how and why he set himself the goal of reading 20 pages per day. I am currently reading ‘Seneca. Letters from a Stoic.’


The next two are alternated daily, depending on where I am in the country.

5) 20 minutes workout

Gone are the days (at least for the immediate future) where my gym appointments are a two hour round trip. I loved those days and they facilitated some good results, but a workout of that length will truly spill over into some of my other priorities each day now. Some may say 20 minutes is pointless, but it depends on the goal. I want to be athletic and flexible. Body weight and calisthenics circuits is where it is at for me.


5) 20 minute vocal workout

The SingPro vocal workouts from VocalizeU are that length for a reason.



6) 20 minute food prep

I will aim to do this every night before bed for the next day. One ingredient foods. Centred around fibre, oily fish and good fats to try to regain some balance in my gut. Obviously removing ALL caffeine, sugar and alcohol.


I know that good sleep is fundamental in making this happen, and in helping me love each day a little bit more.

So in summary, that’s good food, exercise, meditation, time out and voice training… all in just over 2 hours.

Subtract approximately 7 hours sleeping and that leaves me with about 14 hours to think about ‘killing it’ in business and ‘being happier’… if that’s the goal.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and fruitful 2016!


It’ll all be documented on Instagram. Search SteveGilesUK


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