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I know this post’s a little bit late, and that 2012 has already started, but having a full house over the new year weekend – including my two little angels – and being back at work [boo!] I’ve only now had a few minutes to think about last year and the year ahead.

I’d originally intended on having a bit of a retrospective of 2011 – the good, the bad, etc. – but ultimately the year’s now gone and to dwell on it for too long might bring on the clouds as there were a few low points, really low points. I don’t want to do that.

In many ways 2011 was a fantastic year and looking back over the photos on here it’s amazing to see how much I did, both with the girls and with Shelli, topped off with a great Christmas holiday with family. One thing that can be said about 2011 is that it went by so damn quickly!?!

I’m not really into all this making new year’s resolutions malarkey. They always seem to be well intentioned but ultimately they seem to be put in place to be broken. How many people have vowed to start a diet (bad idea: eat less and exercise more – a much more healthy approach!), cut down on smoking or drinking etc. only to fall off the wagon a couple of weeks into the new year, feeling a failure and completely demoralised? Great way to start the year…not!

After an up-and-down year last year – more up than down I’m pleased to say – I enter 2012 with a slight feeling of apprehension.

Recent events have shown that I’m still far too affected by people and that’s something I need to work on to make sure I have even less down times over the coming months; I don’t like it when the clouds are hanging over me. I’m not really sure what I need to do to make that happen but I’ll try and be mindful of their effect on me and try my best not to let it seep in too deep.

I have a divorce to contend with this year but I’m hoping that I can do that without getting too dragged down by it all. It’s affected me quite badly already but I really am hoping that I can get through it without too many bad days. We’ll see.

Life’s too short to be worrying what people think or do and this year, it being the year of my 40th Birthday, that fact really has hit home. Dad died when he was 51, mum died when she was 61. That’s not too far off in the grand scheme of things. Don’t worry, I’m not wishing my life away and yes, 61 is still some way off, but it’s all too easy to just continue “being” without actually “living”.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt since my wife left it’s that there is far more to this life than the norm. You have to work to fit in the good stuff and that’s definitely something I’ll work even harder doing this year.

One thing that does worry me about the future is how I balance my time with my girls. By that I mean how I have the time where I am 100% dedicated to them while also moving forward with my relationship with Shelli and her girls.

This was always going to be difficult due to the limited time I have with my girls and I know that to move forward with my fantastic relationship with Shelli things will have to change. But, and here’s the crunch, I can’t help but worry about losing something when I do start making these changes; losing part of their childhood, something I’ll never get back again. Having had so much taken from me already that thought scares the hell out of me. I guess we’ll see how this works out in the long run? I’m scared but also willing to make these strides forward.

As well as these emotional challenges ahead I’ve also been thinking about physical ones. I’ve said for some time now that I want to be fitter at 40 than I was when I was 20. I guess in many respects I already am but to make sure that this happens I’ve set myself a couple of challenges for this year.

Firstly: to help celebrate my 40th Birthday and to have something amazing to remember it by, I’m planning on trekking through the Atlas mountains, climbing Mount Toubkal (4167m). Of course, I’ll be taking Shelli along with me [kicking and screaming?] so I’m hoping that we’ll both have an amazing adventure together with lots and lots of memories.

Secondly: to make sure that I keep my training and fitness up I’ve decided to sign up to the “2012 miles in 2012” challenge. The challenge is quite simple: in 2012 travel 2012 miles under your own steam. Walk, run, swim, cycle, paddle, row…hell, use a space-hopper for a laugh. It really doesn’t matter how you travel as long as the only power source is you. What could be easier than that?

To do this the mileage breaks down as follows:

  • 167.67 miles a month or
  • 38.69 miles a week or
  • 5.51 miles a day

Now, call me stupid, but I didn’t think that that was enough to challenge me. 5.51 miles per day should be easy to cover especially as I’m aiming on mixing up walking, running and cycling on my new exercise bike. So, to spice things up a bit I’ve decided to make sure that I smash the 2012 mile total by setting some tougher targets:

  1. Walk at least 1000 miles
  2. Run at least 1000 miles
  3. Cycle at least 2012 miles

So to hit those targets I’ll need to do the following each day:

  • Walk 2.74 miles
  • Run 2.74 miles
  • Cycle 5.51 miles

I’m training for this year’s Bupa 10K in London so that should help with the running target, and I’ve bought myself a new pedometer to monitor how far I walk each day. Just pottering round the office, making a change to use the loo downstairs in the office and taking a stroll at lunchtime pretty much hits the walking target. I’m sure I’ll be doing some more long walks at the weekends with Shelli as well so that’ll all add up too. To try and hit the cycling target I’ve now set my alarm clock earlier so that I can get up and put some miles in on the exercise bike before going to work. Hopefully that’ll be enough. We’ll see.

Madness? Indeed. Imagine the sense of achievement at the end of the year if I manage to do it though. Wish me luck.

I’m really hoping 2012 is going to be another good year. The years since my wife left have had their challenges but they appear to be fewer and further between as time goes by and I hope that continues to be the case in the coming months.

The mantra for this year is: less stress and more smiles! Long may the clouds stay away and the sun shine 🙂