I always knew I had to write this article but didn’t know where to begin.

That is until I went to the supermarket on my way home from work on Friday the 27th of December. I wandered around the aisles filling my trolley thinking about this ‘n’ that until it came time to pay. Most of the checkouts looked busy except two side by side and one was shorter than the other. Before heading to what might obviously be the shorter queue I looked to see who was operating the tills. Once I saw who, I headed for the queue that was the longer and I did that because every time that lady sees me she engages in conversation, asks me about myself and tells me about her grandson. She is a delightful lady and she makes me happy.

Paul Connor Happy Face!

Ten minutes after sharing my video on the Northwich Life Facebook page the response was quickly telling me something significant had happened.

Up and up and up the viewings were climbing and the likes, shares, comments and private messages were becoming too much to handle in between chapters of my book. It had taken off!

The video was of me saying that Christmas Day isn’t necessarily like the tv commercials for everybody with joy in abundance and love and happiness everywhere. For others it is quite the opposite and because that may be the case for some people in the town then I would open my gym on Christmas Day morning for anyone who wanted a workout but more importantly for anyone who perhaps wanted a chat or some company for an hour or so.

I really didn’t think anything of it. I’ve done a fair few Christmas wake ups on my own and now I drink a lot less than I used to they are mostly with feelings of energy and freshness. I always have a workout on Christmas morning because of what is about to come, that being a major calorie consumption. This isn’t the article for talking about the effects of 7,000 calories of roast potatoes, turkey and mince pies on an inactive body but believe me if you don’t include some strenuous movement over the festive period then you are going to pay the price!

Having owned a gym for seven years I frequently questioned myself when I was alone inside it on the 25th December why I hadn’t invited others and the answer was always the same. I didn’t want people to think I was a “saddo”. I didn’t want anyone to think I was alone and weird and doing exercise because I am obsessed. I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t hold down a relationship because I was a freak. So, year on year I kept quiet.

If you feel like hanging out with someone on Christmas Day for an hour or so then it’d be good to see you. ?Paul Connor Health and FitnessUnit 4 Kingfisher CourtDenton DriveNorthwichCW9 7TTpchf.co.uk

Posted by Paul Connor on Sunday, 22 December 2019

It’s good the way we are moving as a society now because we are encouraged not to be quiet anymore.

We are encouraged, for the sake of the health of our minds to speak out if we are alone or upset and so I did. I’ll make it clear at this point that I’m not upset. I am alone, in the sense that I’m not in a romantic relationship, but I’m not upset. I have been upset and depressed but again that’s for another time. I’m fine now and I’m fine because I know how to cope if I get sledgehammered from one cause or another. I sought help and I know how to cope now. So I spoke out for others if they needed a bit of support, and, the response was incredible. As I write this, the video is currently on 10,700 views and with more comments of support and encouragement than I can count. Not a single person called me a “saddo”.

I’ve had so many private messages from people asking can they help in any way. I had a lady deliver 160 tea bags and a few litres of milk. I had a guy deliver ten boxes of mince pies. I had someone asking if I needed any warm clothing to hand out. I even personally got offered FOUR Christmas Dinners for when I closed the gym! FOUR Christmas dinners from complete strangers!

Christmas Kindness

“So what happened Paul? How many came?”

I’ll tell you what happened on that Christmas Day, six people turned up. I didn’t need to feed or clothe the homeless. I didn’t need to talk anyone down from a suicide attempt and I didn’t need to send anyone for a Christmas dinner to one of those offering. The six of us just had a laugh and a workout with smiles and hugs and then we went home.

What has resonated with me the most about this whole episode though is how much love is out there. We live in a world where we are all wrapped up in our own journeys with most of us not sparing time to help at charities and the like but the love is there and the want to help is there. I’ve seen it. The question I’ve asked myself then is why are we not all helping each other on a daily basis? I’m sure there may be many factors and this is not my area of expertise at all but one reason I came up with is fear. Fear of standing out. Fear of being noticed for helping.

Goldfish Bowl

I’ll give you an example.

Regularly I drive into work at 6.15am and will drive past somebody walking in the same direction I’m driving. It’s 6.15am, it’s dark, it’s raining, it’s freezing and I’m driving past in a practically brand new car with my heated seats on. I hate the fact that I don’t pull over and offer a lift. Why would I NOT do that? It’s ridiculous! A human being is in a less fortunate position to me and it takes me no effort whatsoever to help them! So why don’t I? Fear.

Fear of the terror I might strike into a woman if I offer her a lift! I see the headlines before I’ve even indicated to pull over….

“BEWARE. Man tries to lure woman into car. Inform the police if you see this monster!”

As I’ve just mentioned, I haven’t studied the research on why we perhaps don’t help others as much as we could so I hope you are ok with my example as there will be a lot more to it but I hope I got a point across. There must be other simple things we can do in order to give somebody a lift up though right? Well, yes there is and I do have some authority here. I work as a Health and Fitness Coach and that is in the service industry. It is my job to help people become fit and healthy. I am reasonably successful and regularly have a full diary of people wanting me to help them.

When I managed personal trainers and now when I get young personal trainers asking me for advice on how to get more clients and become successful they ask. “Should I do this qualification or that qualification? Should I post more on Instagram? Should I do more videos, launch a new class?”

Helping People Achieve Their Goals

Yes do all those things but start by speaking to people and being nice to them. Encourage someone, compliment them, offer them help.

You don’t know what that person’s day has been like. YOU might be the only person who speaks to them today. YOU might just be the difference between whether they go to sleep peacefully or cry themselves into a bottle of whisky for three hours. It doesn’t matter if they buy your time, just make people feel good because you know what – and this is the real important bit – if you make someone else feel good then you’ll feel amazing yourself! GIVE others happiness and don’t look to receive personal gains!

We can all do this and it can make a real difference. Smile at someone, offer to take their trolley back when you are passing them unloading their shopping into the boot of the car, shout encouragement at a runner coming past you, make someone laugh in a supermarket if you see an opportunity. Don’t pass these chance by as they are wonderful and they make both parties feel good. And hey if we all keep doing it, we might even achieve world peace! Wouldn’t that be something!

I don’t intend to sit back on this as it shouldn’t be a one off and I will put some ideas together to see what I can do to move forward because we all deserve happiness. As for today though, I think I’ll go for a run, breathe in the fresh air and smile at whoever passes me!