There is no Straight line to Success! How to get started... and how to keep going when life gets in the way.
This is Coach Josh here at Training for Warriors Portland and today I'm talking simply about how to get started.
This conversation is really about trying to figure out what the story is around your identity. I want to draw you a little bit of a picture to help hone you in on what I mean by that. Everybody has a place where they're at in life; let’s call that starting Point A. Then there’s the place you want to get to in life and we’ll call that Point B.
In one scenario, we're talking fitness. The question is, when it comes time to getting out of bed and getting from Point A to Point B, what's your story? Let's say Point A is your identity, or if it's something like who you are as a person, and point B is who you want to become, then along the way there will be a bunch of little steps.
Your perfect fitness journey might look something like even, incremental steps towards success. It's a beautiful ladder that goes exactly to where you want to go. Pretty clear. What's the problem?
The problem is, as soon as you take one step outside of Point A, this place where you begin (your starting identity), you are now incongruent with your old identity. So, taking these new steps is a new action, a new idea and it requires getting outside of your comfort zone. Every single one of those steps is going to have its own fears associated with that step.
Maybe you're going to start resistance training for the first time or you're going to start working out and you're “not really a fitness person”, right? That's an identity statement. But your brain and your mind, is never going to say “I'm afraid of this, I'm afraid of change.” What it will say is:
“I don't know what to do.”
"I don't know where to start.”
“I don't want to get injured.”
“I don't want to look stupid.”
“I don't want to do something I'm not already good at.”
“I can't get to the gym.”
“I'm too busy.”
“I'm too poor.”
All of these stories will arise when you're approaching your first step. The key is being able to take a breath and respond to each of those stories and fears and say:
“It's okay if I don't know what to do.”
“It's okay if I am afraid.”
“It's okay if I don't know where to begin.”
All you need to do is take the next step, which is: ask a question. Ask yourself a BETTER question.
“Who can I talk to?” “Where do I go?” “If I can't afford a gym membership, what could I do to get in shape?” That will get you leveled up even further: maybe you're going to go for a job twice a week, whatever.
What's going to happen is, maybe you lace up your shoes on Monday and go for a run. It feels great, you go “YES! I’m off on my journey.” Then, Wednesday comes along and you stayed awake a bit later than you normally do. When it comes time to wake up and your mind says, “Oh well, I stayed up too late. I'm not quite rested. I don't want to overtrain. I don't want to do too much. I want to be kind to my body, so I'm not going to go running today.”
Every obstacle that you face, your brain's going to have a new story or new "reason," to not do it. And the reasons all sound like logic:
“I don't have enough time to get my full run in, so I'll just go in the afternoon” But then something comes up in the afternoon, amirite?
“Oh gosh, I'm not in very good shape so I can't go to Training for Warriors until I lose 20 pounds. I want to be in shape enough to finish the workouts.” Never mind that the workouts are going to be designed for me and designed for me to be successful.
The point is not to defeat the logic, but to accept your feelings around exercise, training and doing new things. If you're going to be uncomfortable and you're going to be afraid, and the right question to ask to keep moving forward would be something like "Can I take action, despite how I feel right now?"
So, if I don't get as much sleep one night, could I go for a run? Even though I only got five hours of sleep instead of seven? Yes. Yes, I could go for a run. Would I realistically be at risk if I did that? Nope. I'm just going to be tired!
So, you can take action. You can take action despite how you feel and the skill you're developing is the habit of taking action despite feeling fear. That is actually the skill that allows you to transcend these steps from Point A to Point B, because each one of these steps could be the same or different. “I'm starting to lift weights, but I don't want to hurt myself. ERGO, I shouldn't lift heavy weights.” Well, what if you got a coach? What if you read a couple of books on it, watched some videos, or took a class? What if you mitigate that risk with some action on your part?
When you keep climbing up and climbing up, and then eventually, something will get in your way… because this is real life. You might get sick and miss a couple weeks of training. Then let’s say you have a business trip and you're unable to work out! You lose a little ground and have to “start over”. That’s fine! You start training again, and you even make some progress. But then you get a new job which requires you to build a new routine. Then, you have a family emergency and so on and so forth.
You keep taking just the next step forward, even though the path is not direct. It's not the perfect straight line to success. That would be nice, right? Inevitably something will come up. As long as you keep asking better questions, you keep getting better answers.
The skill or the process that we want to guide you through, is asking better questions of yourself. Are you able to witness yourself going through this transaction (the conversation in your mind) and are you able to take action in spite of fear? Because if you can do that, then you can be successful. Not just in the fitness game, but in whatever it is in life that you're trying to do.
Act in spite of fear... and bring out the warrior within.