Stop. Right now. Stop that.
That thing you do, where you look at the massive goal in front of you that looks like a mountain, and tell yourself you’ll never reach the top.
Stop telling yourself you’re going to fail, so you might as well not start. That won’t get you anywhere.
Take a breath, calm down, and look only at start of the path that can lead you up that mountain. Then take just one step….
Whether it’s getting in shape, starting a business, or dealing with a relationship issue, it is far too easy to look at the perfect vision we’ve created and become overwhelmed. Then quit before we’ve even started.
I know many people who desperately want to get in shape, but it seems so hard and so distant that they throw in the towel after their first day in the gym.
I understand. I used to see fitness models in magazines, and part of me was wildly inspired, the other part discouraged. On a good day, I’d go “beast mode” at the gym, determined to look like the fitness model I admired. About four days later, when I realized my arms hadn’t chiseled overnight and my abs were still hiding under fat, I’d start giving up – and giving into the cheese and crackers and brownies that provided instant gratification.
After all, what was the point? Was I ever really going to look like a fitness model? Did I really have that kind of discipline. “I’m kidding myself”, I thought. So I settled for average.
The top of the mountain seemed to be for a certain echelon of people with super human intensity and discipline. I felt comfortable on the path that would get me about 1/4 of the way up the mountain, which was still a feel-good accomplishment.
But how does anyone get up a mountain?
It’s not magic. No one flies up a mountain, or leaps over obstacles magically. They take one step at a time.
Step by step, they choose to keep moving forward until, eventually, they reach the top. They might take breaks, they might get tired, but they keep going. They don’t think about how far the top is. They think about the view they’ll have at the top, the sense of accomplishment, and they focus on the road directly in front of them.
It’s no different with getting in better shape. One day at a time. One choice at a time. You keep going, even if you have to take a break here and there.
Focus on the Feeling
When I started focusing on trying to lift heavier weight, I felt accomplished. I thought more about how much I could lift than about how my arms looked. Suddenly, a vein popped here, and a striation there. When I put my eyes on improving, versus looking like a fitness model overnight, I made the most progress. One day at a time.
If all you do today is a 10 minute walk, you’ve made progress. If at lunch, you choose chicken and vegetables over pizza, you’ve gone one step further. I tell this to clients and friends repeatedly. Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about losing 30 lbs. Today is all you need to worry about.
Think about how you’ll feel afterward. Think about just losing 1/2 pound this week. Think about going from 5 push ups this week to 10 next. Maybe it’s not be where you’d like to be, but it’s further than you were! It doesn’t mean you failed. Or that you’re a failure.
If you slip and fall, know that it happens to everyone. Take a break, compose yourself, and then get back up and keep going.
The journey to success is just that – a journey. Built on daily choices, that when added up, will result in that ideal body, that improved relationship, or that successful business.
What step can you take today to start the journey? And tomorrow? Focus on those baby steps, and before you know it, you’ll be standing at the top of the mountain, enjoying an amazing view!