Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Four: 44 Lessons Learned In 2019

Quarterly Insights of the Hitman, Part Four: 44 Lessons Learned In 2019

This year has been an absolute rollercoaster. As the first year living as a NOMAD, I’ve gone through a number of different learning curves that have proven to be an excellent point of reflect at the end of 2019.

Personally and professionally, 2019 was a success. Here are some of my wins:

Personal Wins of 2019: 

  • I hit my target of staying around 65kg on average throughout the year with a low of 60kg going into September before it all fell apart.
  • I moved away from bad relationships and focused on making myself happy, serving myself before anyone else.
  • I grew confidence in talking to new people, trying new cultures and being open to new ways of thinking and opinions that didn’t necessarily match my own.
  • I got to spend a lot more time this year with friends than I never thought I would have (Kunal was with me for 10% of my whole year, which in reality is a lot of time talking about macros and Liverpool FC!).
  • The time I did spend with friends was a lot more thought out, deep and meaningful – I learnt that spending more time with someone doesn’t always mean that you know them better or connect with them on a deep level.
  • I finally started the separation between my identity as a coach and a person. I started learning Spanish and with predictions of my own Spanish coach, I became fluent in a few months! Muy Bein!
  • I started putting down the phone and laptop more, and started living with a singular focus. If I’m working, I’m working. If I’m doing life, I’m doing life.
  • I grew to enjoy stillness and my own time without screens and distractions, even music! More recently, I’ve been practicing just ‘being’; not moving a muscle, looking at one singular thing and focusing on my breathing. At the moment I have around 8-10 seconds worth of singular focus before my mind wonders – I have lots of work to do!
  • I had the best experience of the year with Sharan (a hypnotherapist who’s coming on our podcast soon!) which helped me unlock the subconscious issues I was facing, and led me down the new exciting path of self-awareness and introspection.

Professional Wins of 2019:

  • It’s been another very good year for getting people in the shape of their life, for life, with a few more visits for photoshoots than I expected given the travel plans. The timings worked out very well, and it continues to fill me deep to the core when helping people and seeing the results of people’s efforts.
  • I hit a bucket list target of being a lecturer/educator for the very successful RNT Mastermind.
  • I’m grown into a new role within the team, and now thoroughly enjoy the interactions and weekly chats with the guys to both help them, and help them help their clients.
  • I’ve had to adopt the mentality ‘coach don’t tell’. This was very hard for me because my natural inclination when helping is to tell, but now I’m learning to help people help themselves by being a facilitator.

Outside of the wins, I’ve learnt a fair bit. Here’s 45 for you!

  1. Investing in your meal hygiene slows down hunger, improves digestive issues and gives you more feedback on what you like, don’t like and your potential negative habits around food.
  2. RNT Fitness Radio Episode 67 is still the best recorded podcast in the world for getting into the shape of your life, for life, and having clarity on the journey.
  3. A place is just a place if you’re not fulfilled in all areas of your life. You can be on a beach unhappy, and vice versa. It matters who, why and how; where is just the bonus.
  4. Deep and meaningful friendships are never developed with the quantity of time spent together; friendships are developed with questions, understanding and uninterrupted time listening.
  5. Regency over Bombay Central for Indian Cuisine in London!
  6. Asking someone how they are really on the inside and waiting for an answer unlocks a lot of growth compared to ‘hey, how are you’.
  7. I enjoy sunrises, coastal walks, heat, good company, and humour that stretches the boundaries.
  8. Underrated components of life – routine, structure, knowing when and what the next meal is, having a set time zone, phone with data and people speaking English.
  9. I learned to have a new appreciation for people who are learning English and how hard learning a new language can be.
  10. If you’re going to propose (I’ve seen around 15 this year whilst having a romantic dinner for one), get down on one knee, don’t push the ring across the table, and it better be in Santorini. 10/15 didn’t even get down on one knee, what’s that about?
  11. You have to have outlets to mitigate stress and occupy the brain. Equally, finding a way to break and work through the stress, while working on duality and acceptance will make the outlet less of a crutch, and allow for more enjoyment.
  12. I learned I still don’t live for weekends and feel I don’t work a day in my life. This is one thing that I have come to really take for granted over 2019, as I’ve seen so many people across the world who are the opposite.
  13. I love granola.
  14. Journaling has saved my soul from torment of my head.
  15. Just don’t go to Bilbao.
  16. America is a lot bigger than we had planned it to be when driving on the east coast. (4000 miles of driving later!).
  17. Out of all the 100 of protein bars Kunal and myself tried, the best bar was: The One Bar.
  18. I found the importance and value in small things that uplift my day to day: Priority Pass and the lounge at the airport to make flying much easier, a room with a balcony and view, free water at hotels, the left-side window seat on the plane.
  19. I learned I was in control of my own happiness. No more do I place my happiness or emotions/success in life on other people. I write my own narrative.
  20. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is absolutely spot on. It won’t always align but if you can try then you’re going to feel a lot better within yourself.
  21. Don’t trust massages in South East Asia.
  22. Training is more important for mental headspace as much as physical change.
  23. Any type of substance or headspace altering actions can compromise that inner self-control and introspection that is so highly valued. I learnt to find peace without using a crutch.
  24. Dabeli in Kenya made my top 5 of all-time naughty food favourites, and Kenyan Chevda made it into the top 5 crisp selection for me behind Doritos Chilli Heatwave.
  25. I learned that a period away from phones, laptops and being ‘off the grid’ is equally scary and can highlight the issues we typically avoid. It’s difficult with the integration of technology in our world, but when done correctly, it can give you utmost clarity on the importance of things in your life.
  26. I think Kunal and I have PTSD from the taxi’s in Mumbai.
  27. Buy a Priority Pass for the airport lounges if you want stress free travel, free healthy food and comfy chairs with chargers. If you fly more than 5 times a year you’ll make your money back.
  28. Sunrise overlooking Copacabana beach in Rio are possibly the best.
  29. There was nothing better than being the facilitator in helping my mum travel and taking on the role that for health reasons my dad couldn’t do, which helped her cross off plenty from her bucket list.
  30. I learnt how death and money can affect families and tear them apart. This year I experienced my first family death with the major lynchpin of the Johnson family – I’m still not sure if I’ve dealt with it fully.
  31. Nature will always continue and seeing animals hunt, kill and eat has a grounding effect on the circle of life. For me the moment I watched hyena’s circle their dead, prey a giraffe, and tear it limb from limb over time whist another giraffe tried to fight them off was a surreal grounding moment.
  32. The art of coaching is asking questions rather than giving the answers most of the time.
  33. Books and articles will find you when you need the message they bring.
  34. Initiating conversation is hard but more often than not it never ends badly and the law of averages will always be something to consider.
  35. Having a coach in the areas of finances is really needed if you like shiny things – thanks Sonal!
  36. Daily effort always leads to progress – just turn up.
  37. Facetime/video calls and WhatsApp are not equivalent to face to face in any situation. Nothing replaces the physical senses of stimulation, touch, smell and vision.
  38. Chocolate Protein Powder made into a mug cake – a 120 calories smile on your face.
  39. Always seek more perspective and put a different lens when trying to understand.
  40. Gratitude gets you out of your first world problems.
  41. Central London for me sucks.
  42. I have learnt how to skateboard, but not how to brake.
  43. The ultimate freedom is the ultimate sacrifice and options will always be things you need to say no to for greater clarity on what you want.
  44. You don’t want unlimited options, the level of fear of missing out and not wanting to have one thing and have 20 is crazy.

Small extract from my journal below:

“For me I’ve always tried to fight that set plan, the one choice option or limit my decisions because I always wanted the ‘superficial freedom to do what I want’. But this didn’t really hit me until a) I realised I suck at dieting because I can’t choose one thing and just do it b) when taking up the NOMAD lifestyle any choice that I had gave me 100+ viable options. For most there are lots of decisions in your day to day that are funnelled without decision and without thought based on environment, work life and situation/culture for example.

Maybe it’s that you live in London and work in London, so there’s no option for you to move so it limits that decision. Maybe your family or social group give you only one option for a type of relationship (i.e. same religion/culture relationship), so you have very little choice. Even with lifestyle decisions being limited by a specific set of finances to use – it aligns your choices and creates options based on the money you have.

However, when your only non-negotiable choice is that you have to choose somewhere with Wi-Fi and a charging point for your laptop – every decision has 10000 possibilities. If you don’t like this place, you can move. If you don’t think she’s the one, you can change or move. If it rains, you can move. And most of all, if you’re unhappy within yourself, you have a choice of another dopamine hit of travel, new friends, new place to mask the real unhappiness inside. At the end of it all, you are left with a constant what’s next mentality.

You can see this highlighted in modern-day society. Dating apps where it’s so easy to match and meet that if you don’t hit it off perfectly or you don’t like how their nose sits or hair looks or at any point, there will always be more options and maybe better. So you continue swiping again. Food sources in the supermarket will always make you feel the grass is always greener to try new things. Netflix and YouTube, in which there’s so much choice you would rather let the next video auto load than change what you’re watching is just another example to mention.

Choice will be one of the biggest topics in 2020, and how there’s so much of it. The key is to control your own narrative and control your choices – that’s what can lead to vast improvements in day to day life, fulfilment, and enjoyment. Owning your choices, being content with the choice and not comparing your choice to anyone else will be a big focus of 2020.”

My goals for 2020:

  • Move to Barcelona in February, develop a successful routine and forge a lifestyle solution whilst practicing my Spanish.
  • During this time, bring down my bodyweight to 59-61kg.
  • Use the physical as the vehicle. Move towards being performance-based in work/life and my physique. It’s time to deposit the pennies into my lifestyle through an Investment phase of developing routine, putting my performance into work/life and relationships first over the short-term gratification of things like poor routine management, poor food and sleep hygiene.
  • Implement frequent no laptop / no phone time, off the grid times and reduce overall reliance of phone; no phone until 10 am with an aim to be off the phone and laptop by 8pm.
  • I would like to introduce one new hobby or new thing to learn and will layer that over with the routine I develop in Barcelona. I may visit martial arts again, surfing or something completely different.
  • I will get better at ‘leading when I need to lead, and follow when I need to follow’.

Thank you for all that have supported me and RNT throughout the year, it means a lot and during the times.

Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is RNT’s Head of Education, who now lives as a digital NOMAD as he helps transform the lives of his clients all over the world, ranging from City executives, business owners and house wives. His relentless focus on learning and improving as a trainer was highlighted when he was named Greater London’s PT of the year in 2016.