So, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how success and achievements in one area of life can inform us and help us devise strategies that we can apply to another area we want to improve.
For instance, those who know me well know that I struggle with sticking to a regular fitness routine.
They also know that I’ve been fighting with myself for a long time on this and beating myself up about it. Badly. (I mean, it’s probably been super-uncomfortable for them to have to listen to me bitch about it.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve found a few activities (capoeira, climbing, hiking, sometimes running) that I truly enjoyed to the point where my fitness outcomes were a nice side benefit. But still, I always had trouble maintaining my enthusiasm over time. Any routine would eventually just fall to pieces and because of that, my progress was always very limited. Time after time, I’d quit things because I wasn’t seeing quick and easy progress…
…but really because, I hadn’t committed to fitness for the long haul, and didn’t value the power of consistent, regular practice as the road to building a long term beneficial habit.
Flitting from activity to activity, getting frustrated, and eventually quitting and pushing it aside was my M.O.
By contrast, I’ve started a side business, and in the last year and a half I’ve learned a ton, made some nice extra money, and have had exciting new opportunities sprout up because of it. Rather, because of my consistent actions.
And, it isn’t that my side business journey has been without its share of frustrations.
Not at all. I definitely felt at times like I was making no progress to speak of, that the learning curve was too steep, and quitting did cross my mind more than once.
But I stuck with it.
I kept getting up early before work and plugging away. I worked even on mornings when I wanted to sleep in. I did it even when I couldn’t see that what I was doing was directly going to move my life or my business forward.
So what did I do differently here?
I think it’s worth examining.
Sure there’s more to it than simply some new approach or a winning strategy. But what I find is that the right approach and a strategy that works for you, coupled with a little planning can go a long way.
A good strategy is our secret weapon, helping us slay our impulses in those weak moments when we’d rather not do what’s good for us.
It will push us forward to build and strengthen the habits we want that will take us where we want to be.
I know my tendencies and I’ve found ways that work to combat them when it comes to my business.
- I employ the hell out of the “fake it til you make it” when I need an extra boost of confidence.
- I also use a bit of the “20 seconds of courage” concept when faced with an opportunity I really want to take but could easily fall into talking myself out of it due to fear.
- I imagine where an exciting new opportunity will take me. I focus hard on that and then, something happens in my brain at that point that just shuts down all other options.
Suddenly, once I’ve made the decision to take the opportunity in front of me, there is no other choice but to do everything in my power to make it happen. I send the email, make the phone call, lead the project. I do what I need to do. And it’s done!
Notice, there was no time in any of this process for self-doubt to creep in.
See, there is no “coming home after work and vegging out on the couch instead of working out” in this scenario. It isn’t an option.
So, applying these ideas to my struggles around building a fitness routine is worth a shot!
I can certainly fake it til I make it back at the capoeira studio (coming back after a long 4 years off), flailing around the place and smiling like I’m not slightly embarrassed at my lack of coordination or totally in pain…until I stop flailing and start falling back into the groove.
And I can definitely remove all other options when I’m faced with relaxing at home for a little while longer in the morning before work or getting my ass out the door for a morning capoeira class. I can set all my stuff up the night before and jump into my training clothes the minute I wake up.
It’s done. Decision’s already been made. I’m out the door and the rest is history.
What about you?
If you can stick to healthy eating, couldn’t you stick to a budget? Or vice versa?
Maybe you’re a Crossfit beast. Awesome! Couldn’t you apply the same dedication to managing your money?
If you can chat up that girl or guy you’re interested in, couldn’t you call that prospective client?
You get the idea.