You get nothing for nothing if that’s what you do. – It’s So Easy, GN’R
Anything worth striving for takes work. You have an image how you would like to look or be. Lean, sexy, muscular, sizzling, chiseled, brave, strong. The sky is the limit when describing your future self. But these are just words and no matter how many inspirational quotes you read or post on Facebook it won’t get you very far. You can read all the books in the world and pay for all the possible advice but if you don’t take action nothing ever changes.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald Walsch
How many times have you done something awesome in life that didn’t require you to reach a little bit deeper than what felt comfortable? Imagine living a life where you are never getting challenged. Yawn.
When I first started this blog the thought of posting my writing for others to see made my stomach turn. For a typical Finnish introvert that likes to keep cards close to my chest it was terrifying. You might have as well asked me to go through Martin Place naked in the peak hour while doing cartwheels and playing a bagpipe. I had to dig deep. But with each post it got easier.
Eating a microwave dinner is comfortable but rarely satisfying. Cooking a meal from scratch can be uncomfortable but eating it is satisfying.
Stepping into a gym for the first time is uncomfortable. Sitting on a couch watching tv is comfortable – unless you are watching The Kardashians. That is burn-my-eyes-level of uncomfortable. You get the point, anything worth having requires you to push boundaries. Make progress by visiting the uncomfortable until it becomes the new comfortable. Then start again.
I do this with my guitar practice. Every Wednesday I walk three kilometers each way to get to my lesson. Rain, hail or shine. It’s not always convenient, but if I ever want to play something that resembles music I might as well follow through.
Same goes for cooking. Am I excited to spend 3 hours of my Monday afternoon in the kitchen cooking? Never! My wife can testify how much I curse it every week. But I know that by doing so will make the rest of my week easier (and it’ll save me money) so it’s worth doing.
I am not giving the above examples just to pump my own tires. I want to show you that you need to have some routines – sometimes uncomfortable – in place to make things work.
If it’s important, do it every day. – Clark Cable (or Dan John)
If you want to get good at chin ups you’ll have to do them more than once a week. If you want to have a stronger deadlift you’ll probably have to hone in the technique few times a week. If you want to lose fat you’ll be better off cooking more meals at home. You might have to say no to a few dinners out. Or if you go out be prepared not to order your favorite meal every single time. You know, the one with extra cheese.
What, even small, activity can you do each day that builds up to the snowball effect?
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill
Failing equals learning. I’ve written awful blog posts. I’ve had bad training sessions, both on my own and with clients. I failed to stop my nail biting habit for 31 years. But each failure has been a step into the right direction, or it has shown me what the wrong direction is. Which sort of makes it the right direction, I think.
Remember the guy who almost made it? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Don’t give up just before you are about to break through.
– Set the stage to make a chore feel less of a chore. Get a training partner. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts when cooking. Zone out with some instrumental music or sounds of nature when working. I like Slayer.
– Accept that not everything will be fun. Just do the work.
– With each failure ask yourself, “what did this teach me?”