‘My goals became a way of life’ – Gerhard’s testimony of resilience and transformation


After hitting rock bottom in a personal capacity, Gerhard le Roux decided he needed to turn his life around – and over the last two years, that’s just what he’s done. Here, he shares how he pieced his life back together.

“Life was tough three years ago,” says Gerhard le Roux (35) ruefully. “I got divorced and moved into a house full of other people. I only got to see my kids every second weekend and I was struggling to survive financially.”

‘I signed a contract with myself to actively pursue a better life’

“At the start of 2017, I decided I was going to actively pursue a better life, and take better care of my mind, body and soul. The first thing I did was write down the goals that I wanted to achieve. They were quite general at that stage – get more active, eat healthier, achieve financial freedom, get my own place, see my kids more and be successful in my career.”

“Achieving these goals is easier said than done, but there’s a kind of power in actually writing them down. I stuck them up next to my cupboard as a daily reminder, and it was like a contract I signed with myself to make me more accountable. I’ve been doing this every year since.”

‘I made sure that all my new habits were in line with achieving my goals’

“To become more active, I started training for a marathon, which was a long overdue bucket list item. I started to buy healthier food and limited getting takeaways to once or twice a week. I decided to go under debt review to start my long walk to financial freedom. Getting my own place and spending more time with my kids weren’t goals I could achieve as quickly, but I made sure that all my new habits were in line with achieving them.”

“I started waking up earlier and earlier, going for my training runs, hitting the gym afterwards and trying to be at the office by 06:00 to get an early start on the day. My goals were so clear to me that waking early wasn’t a punishment, just a mechanism that helped me reach them quicker. I found that my most productive days were the ones that started with a run – it became a time for reflection – I took stock of where I was in my life and let go of any stress built up from the previous day.”

‘I started making the most of my Vitality benefits’

“In the process of trying to become financially secure, I read up about Discovery Vitality. The more I read, the more I was intrigued about how it could help me to stay accountable and, in the process, save some money. I joined and started making the most of my Vitality benefits. Slowly but surely, my life started to become better and better.”

“Although I was training and working hard to achieve my life goals, my Vitality Active Rewards and Drive goals - from a health and driving behaviour perspective - were like a personal scoreboard, allowing me to check in frequently to ensure I was still on track. There were days where I felt demotivated, weeks where I missed my goals, but as soon as I got out of that rut, the Vitality ethos helped me to get back on track in no time.”

“The more I got used to achieving my Vitality Active Rewards goals, the easier it became, and without realising it, my personal goals and my Vitality goals started to intertwine. What was initially a set of goals, started to become a way of life. This process happened over several months, with many trials and tribulations, but the end goal was always clear.”

‘I’m a completely different person in mind, body and soul’

“It’s now been over two years since I started my Vitality-driven lifestyle, and I’m a completely different person in mind, body and soul. I’ve achieved most of my initial goals and many other ones that joined the list along the way. Since January 2017, I’ve run almost 5 000km in total, successfully completed six full marathons, a Two Oceans Ultra Marathon, a Comrades, the Three Peaks Challenge and the 94.7km Cycle Challenge.”

“Last year I won the prestigious Chairman’s Award at my company and received a Salesman of the Year Award. I got a huge financial incentive that helped to settle the debt I still have. I’ve been living in my own place for the past year and a half, and my kids stay with me 50% of the time. My relationship with them is better than ever. “I’ve also (by mid-March 2019) achieved 52 consecutive weeks – a full year’s worth - of Vitality Active Rewards goals, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.”

‘So much comes down to the small decisions you make daily’

“I’ve learnt that when it comes to overcoming unhealthy habits, so much comes down to the small decisions you make daily – getting out of bed or sleeping late, choosing leftover pizza or making yourself a healthy breakfast, allowing other people’s opinion of you determine your mood or staying focused on your goals and achieving them. We all go through tough times in life, but with resilience, the right mindset and relevant tools at hand, you can achieve anything you aspire to. I’ll always be grateful to Vitality for putting mechanisms in place that have helped me become a better version of myself.”

Find more inspiration from Gerhard by following his weekly podcast ‘gerhardlivelife’ on Spotify or iTunes.

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