skip to Main Content

Life Hacking 2015 – 8 Major Changes I’ve Made This Year

Life Hacking 2015 – 8 Major Changes I’ve Made This Year

It’s been quite a year. Highly tumultuous but with plenty of learning going on. In fact, ‘life hacks’ or lifestyle re-engineering has become something of an obsession as I’ve sought to drive efficiencies to help me cut through the noise and clutter of life. Life hacking sometimes gets a bad rap; the term ‘hacking’ being synonymous with cheating or taking shortcuts. As long as the ‘hacks’ meet or improve an obvious need in a positive way, I’m all for them.

Here are the 8 most significant ways I’ve hacked my life in 2015.

1. Started Crossfit

A week after a fairly traumatic life-changing event, I set foot in a Crossfit gym for the first time.

The next day my body felt like I’d been in a car accident (I’m imagining). But I went back. Again and again.

I sometimes wrestle with Crossfit’s balls-to-the-wall approach but, for time-poor Dads, it’s hard to think of anything else that covers all the bases.

Want to gain upper body strength and avoid the dreaded Deadbod / skinny-fat look? Crossfit will do that.

Want to burn fat through HiiT training? Yup, Crossfit has you covered.

Interested in learning some cool new moves to show off to the kids? Easy, come check out my muscle-up that I learned…at CROSSFIT

Crossfit provides a focused all-purpose training session that can yield brilliant results in as little as 3 hours per week.

Just don’t talk about Crossfit all the time. Nobody else is interested.

2. Gone Fully Keto

“Never go full Keto,” said Robert Downey Junior in Tropic Thunder. Or he could have done if the movie was about dieting and not war / acting.

I embarked on a 42 Day Diet Challenge at the gym expecting nothing more than possibly giving my diet a healthy tweak.

At that point a typical day looked like this:

645am Green smoothie

8am Coffee and Turkish toast with butter and vegemite

1030am Bacon and egg roll with coffee

12pm Tuna rice and beans + glass of milk

3pm Decaf coffee and brownie

530pm Protein shake

820pm Baked chicken and roasted vegetables + 3 glasses milk

830pm Half a block of Lindt chocolate

Rinse and repeat. Every day. For pretty much 4 years.

I was working out between 6-9 times per week at this point.

During this period, I lost weight, gained muscle and dropped body fat. I was actually out-training a bad diet. Or a diet that was 80% okay but carrying a few obvious flaws.

So, I made a decision to ditch my beloved Turkish toast in the morning. It was tough, but after a couple of days the cravings stopped.

Ignoring the bread with my $5 mid-morning bacon and egg roll took a few days to get used to but, again, after a few days became automatic.

I bought kilos of nuts to snack on during the afternoon when the post-lunch lulls tried to lure me for a brownie. Soon the siren’s call of the brownie dissipated and was replaced by a beetroot salad.

What. The. Hell.

Within the space of a couple of weeks I’d largely abandoned processed carbs and sugar and was subsisting on a diet of fats and protein. What’s more, I was eating two meals per day instead of 5 or 6.

My brain felt more alert and I was more productive.

Now my daily diet looks like this:

7am Coffee and eggs, bacon, salmon and avocado

1030am Coffee

3pm Coffee and $5 salad

820pm Baked chicken and roasted vegetables + 2 glasses milk


7am Coffee

1030am Coffee, eggs, bacon, halloumi

3pm Coffee and $5 salad

820pm Baked chicken and roasted vegetables + 2 glasses milk

3. Automated Investments

Everybody knows you should do this, right? But the act of actually doing it: the rigmarole and admin involved and means that not as many people do it as should be doing it.

This is the no-frills, dull-as-ditch-water way to generate a serious amount of money for your future.

Go out for dinner one less time per week, don’t buy that shiny new shirt / skirt / jacket. Make whatever sacrifice you need to do to create and ingrain this habit.

But buy the sneakers. Always buy the sneakers.

There are a number of Fintech start-ups that automate investment advice (or provide robo-advice). These businesses aim to take a lot of the fat out of investing; that is, the charges that eat into your returns over time (to a massive degree).

Try Stockspot or, my personal favourite, Acorns Grow which, through its micro-investing app will allow you to round up the loose change from your card transactions and invest the change in a low-cost EFT fund.

4. Automated Giving

I listened to a podcast on this topic recently that made me feel guilty. It was a Tim Ferris podcast but don’t hold that against me [more on that later].

The fact is that the habit of giving is fairly underdeveloped in the Western World. At least to the degree it should be.

So I listened to the podcast, felt sick at my lack of contribution to those that genuinely need help and resources, went onto the website and selected a charity to donate to.

Givewell ranks charities according to how efficient they are with their donations, reasoning that one reason why people may not donate is that they are confused and slightly jaundiced by stories of inefficiencies in the not-for-profit sector.

So now my donation buys 29 anti-malaria nets each month in Africa. Which makes me feel good. And hopefully helps to save some lives.

I can’t really think of a good reason not to do this. The question is: why aren’t I donating more?

5. Dabbled in Mindfulness / Gratitude

Mindfulness is all the rage right now as we struggle to cope with the constant barrage of the information age.

I wasn’t convinced until one of my mentors challenged me to write a gratitude mantra.

This is something I can draw on at will, typically whilst walking Derek, to remind myself of what is important and that, no matter how bad or stressful things might seem, I’m actually very fortunate.

It’s a mobile version of a gratitude diary and takes 5 minutes twice per day.

6. Learnt From Experts

I’ve spent a bit of dough this year learning from experts.

The outcome: I’m qualified in a couple of training protocols (Steve Maxwell’s kettlebell certification and Martin Rooney’s Training for Warriors – both brilliant courses, by the way). That’s great. Yay me.

More importantly, I’ve had exposure to people who are industry leaders in health / fitness / strength. I’ve heard stories and leveraged expertise and mixed with people who know far more than I do.

And I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

7. Listened & Learned

As my life-as-I-knew-it unravelled and Crossfit provided a physical crutch, so spending time listening to personal development material provided some semblance of mental support.

My 25 minute each way commute and 30 minute walks with the mutt became opportunities for me to learn about life from some expert storytellers.

Earl Nightingale, Napoleon Hill, Bob Proctor, Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins have become voices of inspiration and motivation. If I had to pick a favourite from this bunch, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, I’d personally go for Jim Rohn for his easy-going charm although Earl Nightingale’s deep baritone conveys some sense of heightened and highly secretive learning.

Latterly the podcasts of Tim Ferriss offer endless interest and learning. Regardless of what you might think about Tim Ferriss (I don’t quite understand why he has so many haters), the calibre of his guests and his increasing prowess as an interviewer means I’m always left feeling more informed and cerebral than I was before.

8. Become A Better Dad

It has taken me a while to hit my straps at this.

In fact, I found the adjustment so surreal and overwhelming that, coupled with a partner who was basically born to be a mother, made me question if I was really cut out for fatherhood. For almost 2 years.

But things have shifted exponentially and I now have a little mate who waters the plants in the garden for me and goes to Crossfit and swimming and Kickaroos and brings me any loose change he finds lying around the house and who sings the Thomas The Tank Engine theme song with me and who knows the difference between agapanthus and jacarandas.

The best thing is, I suspect it’s only going to get better from here.

Bring on 2016.

Get My 2016 Resolutions & Compare Them With Yours

See how my goals for 2016 compare with yours. 

We value your privacy. That means: No Spam!

Back To Top