The KEY to results: the importance of now…
Bear with me for this. I know this is a training blog, not a life-coaching seminar but I want to share some beliefs I have that apply equally to life as much as they do to training, in my humble opinion.
Besides if this was part of a life-coaching seminar you’d be paying a lot of money for it and listening to how dishing out a lot of your hard-earned cash is somehow going to make YOU rich. Isn’t it ironic how SELF-help material always involves donating a lot to someone else’s bank account?
Anyway, back to the point.
As a kind of coach as well as someone who enjoys discussing philosophies of life I realised that one thing I hear a lot from people is the phrase:
“I’m going to”
I’m going to start training hard soon. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to save up. I’m going to make some big changes soon. I’m going to go travelling. I’m going to make that move abroad. I’m going to get that dream job.
What’s wrong with that?
Nothing, except that all these events are, currently, completely hypothetical. Potential. Possible. In the works. Intangible.
When I hear that, I always follow with: ok, when? What are you doing right now to achieve it?
99 times out of 100, that’s when you get the caveat.
“Well, I’ve got to sort this out first…”
“I will start, once I…”
“I’d love to right now, but…”
Don’t get me wrong, I say this shit too. And I appreciate that a lot of things, especially big things or big changes, take a lot of planning.
But it is talk like this, this mindset of imagining future glories and always talking in the simple future about what we will do, that is the number one factor in holding us back from achieving what we want.
The one thing we as humans are all good at is kidding ourselves. We’re masters of creating the subconscious exit strategy that allows us to avoid dipping our toe in unchartered waters, or removing ourselves from our comfort zone, without disturbing our delicately supported veneer of self-regard.
In other words, we make excuses for not doing something right now.
In many facets of life you can get away with this. After all, everyone can recognise and sympathise with the need to save money first before a business venture or to wait for the right opening in the job market before making a leap. It doesn’t excuse you from delaying, but it’s easier to explain away.
The good thing about training is that it’s a lot simpler than that, which means your excuse-mechinism is exposed.
I don’t think it’s at all presumptuous to say that every adult person wants to be fit, look good and feel healthy. But if you’ve never really exercised, have got used to a crap diet and have low self-esteem the prospect of starting to work out can be daunting, no matter how much you want to be in shape.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had the conversation with friends about starting up training or asking me to show them the ropes. No problem from my end. But out of all those people, I can only think of a few who have actually even started.
Ok, so they would give me some good reasons for not getting started. But when you break it down, right down, what is actually stopping someone from starting to change their habits?
From a training perspective, this can mean literally just starting to walk to work instead of driving. Or going for a 10 minute stroll every other evening. Or starting to do some press-ups on your knees every other evening.
Doesn’t sound like much, but it is an activity taking place in the present. You are actually doing something NOW that is taking you along the path to future successes.
This is the key to everything. Instead of imagining it in the future, you do something, however small, in the present to make it happen.
You want a new job? Put down whatever you’re doing and start the process of looking, or updating your CV or whatever. Not on the weekend, or after you finished playing football tonight or after the Christmas social. Right now.
You want to start a business or look into a side venture? Close the YouTube tab of cats falling off of TVs and start researching. Stop telling yourself that you’ll start after your next holiday, or once Jupiter is aligned favourably with Uranus.
You want to lose weight, get stronger, be fitter? Start finding out how RIGHT NOW, and go get yourself the gym membership/buy the running shoes/sign up for the yoga class TODAY.
Take care of what you could do tomorrow, today, to paraphrase my Dad.
The key to achievement, training or otherwise, is action. There’s always an excuse not to do something. There’s never a perfect time to start anything.
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” Hugh Laurie
I didn’t know Mr Laurie was such a philosopher, but to me that is a perfect quote that summarises what I’m trying to express.
I know what some of you are probably thinking. “Er, and how successful are YOU? What proof have you got of successfully applying this philosophy?”
Well, I don’t consider myself successful, not in relation to what I want to achieve. There’s ALWAYS ways you can improve or be a better person, or be more productive.
Just like in training.
We’re all only human, and to be relentlessly efficient would belie our organic composition: not only are we not machines we are all subject to emotions, external pressures, internal fears and suppressed issues that can and will change the course of our lives. As you can by simply changing your mind.
But this is precisely why the key to success, results, whatever you want to call them and however you wish to quantify them, is so reliant on positive action in the PRESENT.
You don’t know what you want in the future, but you have an idea of what you want right now.
No-one knows what will happen tomorrow. The best you can do is to get started now, and don’t make an excuse.
I can’t always live up to it, but by being aware of this makes me strive for it. It helps my decision-making, whether that is summoning up the motivation to go to the gym or starting down the road to a new career or a new venture.
The only time and action that counts is right now. String together a lot of positive actions and you get a big result. Applied to training, a year from now you’re going to have travelled a long way towards being fitter, stronger, leaner.
Applied to your life, who knows?