The Biggest Challenge of My Life 👊

Although I have just managed to cycle 10,000 miles over the last year.

It’s really nothing in comparison to the challenge that is ahead of me now.

Can I be happy in Scotland?

It doesn’t really sound like much of a challenge.

But to me it’s everything.

Because it’s the one thing I’ve still not proved to myself yet.

I know I can do it.

I know I am going to do it.

I have absolutely certainty that I will do it and there isn’t any element of doubt within me.

But I still need to do it.

I’ve not been happy in Scotland since maybe 2013.

Even then it probably wasn’t really happiness.

It wasn’t true inner happiness.

It was conditional on being so busy, drinking so much and having so many great people around me that I don’t think I ever had time to sit and reflect on whether I was actually happy or not.

I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings since the age of 15.

That was the earliest time I can trace it back to, but it probably existed way before then too.

But over the last 18 months, I’ve made a huge transformation with my own mental health and levels of happiness.

I’m now the happiest, healthiest, fittest and greatest that I have ever been.

I’ve spent so much time learning about happiness and positive mental health over the last 18 months. Then I have put in the work to implement everything I learned.

That’s why I am so happy.

But I’ve still never shown it in Scotland.

All this happiness and positive mental health has existed outside Scotland whilst away on the bike.

Now I always knew that I could be happy back home, because the things I learned aren’t location dependent.

They are focused on training the mind, changing your outlook and mindset, expressing more gratitude and perspective as well as looking after your body and physical health.

But the reason why I need to prove this to myself is because I came home at Christmas and went back to feeling like I used to feel.

But the important thing here is that wasn’t anything to do with Scotland.

It wasn’t anything to do with home.

It was to do with me.

My mental health went back to how it used to be because I went back to living how I used to live.

If you always do what you’ve always done. You’ll always get what you’ve always got.

So coming home to Scotland and doing what I used to do, whilst expecting to feel how I now felt was always a recipe for disaster.

I came home and started drinking again, and as a result never engaged in any of the positive practices that help to cultivate positive mental health and happiness.

I stopped exercising, started eating lots of junk food again, stopped meditating, stopped reading and stopped trying to use my mind as a positive force as opposed to a negative one.

I stopped putting in the work.

The way you live your life and the actions and choices you make is the single biggest determinant on whether you have good or bad mental health.

That’s my belief and that was why I ended up where I used to be.

But this time I know that.

I’ve made the mistakes and am a better person for the experience.

This time I know that the success or failure of this next chapter is totally dependent on me.

100% my responsibility and in my control.

I know that to continue being happy and mentally healthy, I have to come back to Scotland and keep up the good work I’ve been doing whilst away.

So for me the biggest priority and focus for this next chapter is my health.

My physical health and my mental heath.

If I continue being sober, exercising every day, eating a healthy diet and continuing my daily meditation practice.

I know I’m putting myself in the best position to succeed and create the best conditions that will help happiness become my core state of being.

That’s why moving to Edinburgh was such a big thing for me.

Because I knew that by going home I would have to face the old triggers and urges to go back to how I used to live.

I needed a fresh start.

I needed to be living somewhere were there weren’t constant reminders of the past and lots of temptations to start drinking again.

I knew I had to make choices that helped me succeed.

By continuing this period of sobriety, by keeping up my cycling and training, by focusing most of my time and energy on The Tartan Explorer Foundation and by being based in a vibrant and exciting city like Edinburgh.

I know I’ve put myself in the best position to succeed.

It’s now just time to keep putting in the work every single day and ensuring that this next chapter is the most prosperous.

I know I’m going to do it, but I think by talking about the challenge ahead and by sharing the journey it can bring a lot of value to other people and help and inspire them to make changes in their life.

This next chapter is the biggest challenge of my life, definitely.

But it’s also the most promising.

There’s never been more opportunity and I know this is the chapter I’ll look back on and think…

“That was it”

That was when I finally became the person I always knew I was destined to be.

It’s not a case of will I do it?

I am going to do it.

I’m already doing it.

It’s happening.

A new journey begins today.

I hope you’ll come along for another ride…

The Tartan Explorer 🚴🌍✌️❤️

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