What would it look like if it were easy? I define “it” as anything in life that you are striving for. Focus, for a second on what you want the most. Is it a beach body? Is it to be a better skier? Once you have what you want to be visualized in your head, ask yourself why don’t you have it? That’s the real question. We all have excuses that keep us from getting what we want. We don’t have enough money, we don’t have the time to get started. Now, ask yourself, what would be getting started, look like if it were easy? For me, it was getting back to working out after our new boy William was born. Before you jump the shark and throw out the excuse, “well it’s easy for you because you work at a gym”. News flash: that doesn’t make it easier. Sometimes it actually makes it worse because we’re at the gym all day. But I digress. What would my answer be if getting back at it were easy? You’re not going to like the answer. The answer is to just go. That’s it. Really. Drop the excuses and go. Easy enough? In reality, nothing is easy and there really is no easy way. There is no way around, just through. That’s when we grow and find our better self. There’s no perfect time for anything. Stop fooling yourself into thinking next week is the better time to start. Yesterday was the perfect time to start because before we know it, tomorrow was yesterday.
This idea popped into my head about how hard it is to get back to working out after a long amount of time spent off. More specifically the idea about how our good habits go by the wayside during a long layoff. What’s a long lay off? I have no idea what that means to you. For me, it’s ten days to be specific. I had every excuse in the book to skip the workout. I’m too tired, I have too much catch-up work to do, I feel stretched thin. Going into my first workout I was nervous for how I was going to perform being so tired but after yesterday I realized it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Did the workout suck? Oh yes, it did. But why? Was it the week off? Probably not because a week off most likely allows our body to relax. Was it the lack of sleep? Maybe. Or was it something else entirely? Was it drinking 4 plus drinks every day last week? Most likely. The time away from my normal routine allowed those bad habits to creep back into my life and could be the same for your as well. Why is it we take a week or more away from our normal routine, pick up all the old bad habits because we can and then we drop the good habits? What’s with that? Well, it’s mostly bullshit, to be honest. What would it look like if it were easy? Ask yourself, what would it look like if it were easy to get back to the gym? If it were easy, you’d stop reading this and get your butt to the gym.
We live on that cliff edge with keeping good habits. We hang on by our fingertips and with one little slip up we’re falling all the way down the mountain. All the way back to all those habits we thought we changed. The habits that we spent days, weeks and maybe even years trying to build our routines around. How can we stop this? Well, we don’t fall down the mountain of bad habits again. I know, back to the whole if it were easy. Think for a moment of those mountain climbing movies where the hero is sliding down a sheet of ice and can’t stop. You’re right there with him, feeling their fear, knowing that the end is in sight. Then BAM! They throw their ice axe into the ice and stop the free fall. That’s what you need. You need to find your ice axe. That’s how it looks if it was easy. What is the tool or tools you need to keep from falling all the way back down the mountain? What’s your personal ice axe? For most of us, it’s our significant others or our peer group at the gym. For me, it’s my coworkers that are also my gym buddies. It would have been so easy to just take the nap and skip the workout. We tell ourselves it’s just one workout. Then it turns into two workouts and then there goes the whole week. Before we know it we haven’t worked out in over a month then it snowballs from there. I’m using working out as an example because that’s what I know. Think about the bad habits you have changed over the last few months. How hard was it to change those habits? I’m sure it was hard as hell to change like it is for all of us. Just envision yourself ready to climb back up that mountain and one slip can send you back down to the base of the mountain. Now envision your ice axe. What haven’t you chosen one yet? What is that one thing that can stop your free fall? What would it look like if it were easy? Now that you know what your ice axe is, do not lose it.
I’m fortunate enough to have many ice axes but my main one is my competitiveness. Most people I meet or train don’t have this gene so I’ll choose another one. Another ice axe I already mentioned is the team of trainers I train with. They are my buddies so it’s hard to be away even when I don’t want to workout because I’ve been up all night with a crying newborn. Now I’m sure at this point you’ve thought about what you could use for your ice axe. I’m sure you’ve visualized how to build your good habits again if it were easy.
The cool part is after you’ve stuck that ice axe in then you get to climb back up that mountain. Yes, you have to rebuild those good habits again, but aren’t you glad you stopped yourself before you hit the bottom? For me hiking back up that mountain was super hard because I walked into max week. Again, could have easily let those good habits go and just started the following week. Instead, I used my ice pick and I had one of the best workout weeks I’ve ever had. Kinda crazy, right? I went from being exhausted, trying to use every excuse in the book, sliding down the mountain of bad habits and then at weeks end it was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had. Not only did I climb back up the mountain. I conquered it in record time and now I’m looking for the next mountain to climb. The next bad habit to conquer. The next lifestyle change I want to make. Don’t forget your ice axe the next time you’re climbing the mountain of good habits because you never know when you’ll need it.
Originally posted on Fitness Together Wash Park’s Blog