My last post was on passion and the part it plays in not only training and fitness, but life as a whole too. I tried to get across that when you have a passion for what you’re doing its as clear as day to others around you and makes the work needed to get where you’re going seem like nothing at all. In reality however, passion is only half the story.
We all get passionate. Every single one of us. We hear about a new promotion we may be able to achieve in work. Its 11:55Pm on the 31st of December and were just sick of carrying around a set of spare tyres, never mind just one. We all get that drive and surge of energy to achieve something, to accomplish a goal. So what happens? How come so many of us fail?
Motivation is a tricky thing to keep a hold of. It comes on almost instantly but it seems to go just as quick and we’ve all heard the saying that turning up to the gym is the hardest part! Without it, the overwhelming sense of the scale of work that needs to be done can become too much to do anything about and we become complacent. Things like “Oh, I’ll just cut this workout by ten minutes, I’m a bit tired today” and “I’ve worked so hard at my normal job, I don’t need to do any more to get that raise” become more and more frequent and before we know it were back doing the same amount, if not less, before this drive for improvement started.For me, it all boils down to two things.
The first is a misconception of how much we “deserve” the break. For some reason, the fact that were putting in the effort to achieve something warrants a treat or a reward. We see the sacrifice as being a job and the break from said sacrifice as being some form of payment. This is a bad, bad, bad way to look at it. Not only will breaking the pattern make it easier to fall out of the habit of our new lifestyle, but we now also start telling ourselves “Ah i missed yesterday, missing today wont make a huge difference too.” Before we know it, its been a week of takeaways, no gym and leaving work early. The pattern stopped, and with it, we lost our motivation.
What we should do is look at why we’re even making the sacrifices in the first place.
Lets look at one of my goals. A Six pack. Getting a six-pack ain’t as easy as six-minute abs and its defiantly not achievable through exercise alone, at least not for me. If it was, I’d have it already. The key player is diet. A clean diet of unprocessed foods, as much veg as I can boil and lean cuts of meat all whist cycling carbs and fats and all this other mumbo jumbo I’ve blogged about before. When we compare this with my college diet of pasta, Loyd Grossman pasta sauce and grilled chicken, I can tell you that I had to “sacrifice” to make those changes.Admittedly, the first while of doing this (Early 2012) I wanted to stop. I felt like I deserved that crunchy, that milkshake and that Chinese, but I kept myself on track by telling myself it will all be worth it in the end and knowing exactly how long I had been doing it for. Soon, it became two weeks of sacrifice, three weeks, and before I knew it a month. Now, that five minutes of enjoyment I would get from eating that crunchy didn’t seem worth “breaking the chain” of 31 days clean eating. Now, I’m closer to my goal than ever. I had a long way to go but in a few months I’ll be there.
The second thing that trips people up is more well-known. Fear of failure. No one likes to fail and for some reason people associate failing a task as failing as a person. What really makes you a failure as a person is how you react to failure. If you let it take you down and remove your drive to improve, well then sorry chump, you are a failure. But if on the other hand you use it as something to drive you, something to move you forward, then you are anything but a failure.
To me, especially as an engineer, failure is necessary. If something fails to work, it just means I’ve not found the right solution yet. It drives further understanding of the process and it may also become key to learning even more if you’re not afraid to reach out and ask for help with it.
The point I’m trying to make is this. Yea your making a sacrifice and yea you might fail a couple of times. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The trick to it is to realise what the “reward” is. It most certainly isn’t the treats that give you 5 minutes of pleasure. It’sthe end result. It’s the knowing that when you get there no one can tell you don’t deserve it and that it was achieved with nothing but hard work and sweat!No one can better sum up this post then one of my heroes, the founder of theMclaren Racing team, Bruce Mclaren.
“As I always said to do something well is so worthwhile, that to die trying to do it better, cannot be foolhardy. Indeed, life is not measured in years alone, but, in Achievement”