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Studying AAT…One Bite At A Time

Studying AAT…one bite at a time

As you may know, I got mugged into joining in with the office entry for a charity Rainbow Run on the 9 June 2018. As well as having to run 5k, one gets showered along the way with powdered paint of a variety of colours.

Those of you who know me, know that I am not as slim and lithe as I once was….!?!?!…..and so I had to get into training at a fairly early date to prepare for this 5k run. In fact, at Christmas I was about 4 stone overweight. As I started to train (with the App “From Couch to 5K”, my knees complained at how much excess baggage they had to carry.

It stuck me that, given a bag of sugar is roughly 2lbs – each stone overweight represented 7 bags of sugar.  4 stone represented 28 bags of sugar. My poor knees were carrying around not just me, but the equivalent of a rucksack filled with 28 bags of sugar. Ow!!??!!

If you are wondering what 28 bags of sugar look like, please look at the photo below:

Simon-with-all-bags-of-sugar

I had been carrying that lot, secreted about my person for far too long. (The accountants amongst you will have noticed, approvingly, that I have shown the bags of sugar to my left. A Credit – a liability on my Balance Sheet (or on my life). My plan is to lose them all and move them over to my right hand side, where they can become an asset.)

It was time to lose it…

At the time of the Rainbow Run I had lost just over 1 stone – about 9 bags of sugar.

Having completed the 5k Rainbow run, four of us repeated the exercise (…get it?!?) at the Michelmores 5k (#mm5k) in Exeter on the evening of Thursday 6th September, along with 1,000 other people. I should admit now that most of those 1,000 people were in front of me!

However, the pain was worth it and I am now half way towards my 4 stone weight loss. In fact, I have lost 2 stone AND 1 pound. Don’t forget the 1lb! Not only have I had to pull my belt in two notches (I only have one notch left to go), I have had to tighten my watch strap.

That’s 15 bags of sugar less of a liability – to my heart and my knees.

We have already pencilled in both the Rainbow Run and the Michelmores Run for next year. It is not because I particularly want to run 5k and endure pain, suffering and humiliation. However, I do want to lose another 2 stone. Knowing I have to repeat the 5k process next year means that I have a clear target. I now know that I can get round and can keep running all the way round. I also know that, if I keep losing weight and keep training, a) I will be fitter next year and b) I will have 13 fewer bags of sugar to carry around with me!

With a target, one has something to aim for. We all need goals, targets and need to monitor our progress to those goals. If I can lose 4 stone without starving but by a sensible balance of better eating and exercise at the age of 62, then I can do a pile of other things I want to do – I just have to visualise them, plan it in the diary and then do them. Hmmm. I have to stop procrastinating. Not easy for me.

It is Similar to Your AAT Studies…

When you start your studies, your learning plan seems to stretch out to infinity. Your learning materials look like a 24 volume Encyclopaedia.  “I’ll never get to the end of that. I’ll never read that lot”. But yes you will. Not all by tonight, or tomorrow night, or by next week – but by a bite at a time.

In answer to the question “How do you eat an elephant?” the answer is one bite at a time. However, over the last 10 years, I have probably eaten half a dozen elephants, one bite at a time, which is why I put on so much weight!?! I now need to do it in reverse. Brian Tracy’s book “Eat that Frog” refers to the things you don’t want to do, (but are really important to do), as your “Frogs”. In order to deal with them, you don’t have to sort it all in one go, but you do need to start to eat you frog one bite at a time. A little bit each day. Schedule it, stick to it, don’t argue about it with yourself, just do it – and then get on with the rest of the day.

Schedule your learning plan across your year / planned duration. Set short deadlines for topics, chapters, progress tests. Put it in your diary. The night before commit to yourself to do it. Tell others you are going to do it so they don’t offer you alternatives. Make yourself accountable to them as well as you. People are incredibly supportive. During the Michelmores run, so many people clapped and cheered us on. They didn’t know us from Adam. However, they could see we had made a commitment and wanted to encourage us to stick to it. By doing so, you felt a duty to their belief in you, as much as a duty to yourself. Take a bite out of that frog each day/week and monitor progress against your plan. There will be some weeks which are hopeless, but you will get back on track. If you can get a bit ahead of schedule, then these mishaps are less undermining. I always weigh more on Monday morning than on Friday morning – I accept it, but plan to ensure that I exercise enough and eat sensibly enough that I will still have made a net loss by the following Friday. I compare Monday mornings with the last Monday morning and Friday mornings with the last Friday morning. Success feeds success.

By committing to the Rainbow Run and the Michelmores run next year, I have set a clear deadline for the loss of my next 2 stone. You have committed to a learning plan with a clear deadline.

By writing this Blog and by posting a similar one on LinkedIn I have made myself accountable to not just me, but over 1,000 other people. People I know. People I know will take the mick out of me if I don’t achieve it…….but praise me genuinely if I do.  You have made a commitment to us and yourself (and someone close?) to stick to your timetable.

By taking the photographs I have been able to visualise where I was. I can visualise all 28 of the bags of sugar on my right hand side. In my asset column. I can visualise the jars of jam that could be made with them. You should visualise your AAT Certificate, with your name on it. Visualise that exam pass notification.

I have a plan to run three times a week. Over the winter that plan might need to change to run each weekend but attend the gym or the pool twice a week. I pay a monthly fee for the gym/pool at the hotel down the road. I haven’t used it for ages but it is still good value because I know I can and I know I will. When it gets darker in the evening I will go regularly. The routine run / swim means that it is in the diary each week. I don’t have to think about it, I just do it. I don’t get stressed if I can’t. I just do it the next time.

It has worked. I have lost 29 lbs so far. One bit at a time. You can do the same thing with your studies. One chapter at a time. One presentation at a time. One progress test at a time. Even one page at a time.

I shall look forward seeing you at the finish line.