In my previous post, Find Your Why, Repeat Your Why I’ve talked about life and motivation working like a roller coaster. That there are going to be up’s and down’s for everyone, and that recognizing this, and knowing how to work with this natural flow, can help you not only overcome the lows, but also to keep things in perspective.
Something I’ve found to be incredibly helpful, is understanding and applying the differences between standing still, jogging, and sprinting in anything that you do.
Standing still is exactly what it sounds like. It’s when we’re not moving at all, when we feel stuck, when we’re not making any progress towards our end goals. Standing still is quite possibly the worst place we can be.
Just as iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water putrefies…
If you’re feeling stuck, and find that you’re standing still, one of the quickest way to get unstuck, is by taking the smallest step you can. A Little Victory can go a long way in getting you from standing still, to jogging, and once you start jogging you can turn your focus to keeping that pace.
Start by thinking of the smallest, littlest step you can take towards one of your goals. Have a goal to read more? Just open the book and read one sentence. Have a goal to exercise more? Just do one sit up. Any goal that you have, think of the smallest littlest bit of work you can do towards that goal, and do it. By taking this one small step, your suddenly, no longer standing still. Now if we can do this again the next day, and then again the next day… you’ll suddenly realize, you’re jogging.
Jogging through life is a solid baseline to making great progress towards your goals. Too often people try to work back-and-forth between standing still and sprinting. They’ll procrastinate working on their goals until they have a sudden burst of motivation. Then they’ll shift to sprinting until they gas themselves out and wind up standing still again. This goes back to the up-and-down, motivational roller coaster, that people ride.
One is always greater than zero. This mindset will help you keep ‘jogging’ towards your goals. 1 > 0
What we want to try and avoid is riding a roller coaster that has such steep inclines and declines. What we ultimately end up with is a lot of hard work on a sprint, only to lose most of that work while we’re standing still. Anytime we end up in the standing still scenario, our goals become farther and farther away. This is what makes jogging and little victories so important.
By getting into a good pace of jogging, and working towards our goals every day, we raise the bottom line of our effectiveness. Instead of taking a zero for a long period of time while we stand still, we’re getting a one, and one’s start to add up quick. Think about it, if you only even did the smallest amount of work towards a fitness goal, say one pushup a day. By the end of the year, you’ll have completed 365 pushups. If you’re not a person who normally works out, that’s most likely 365 more pushups than you did last year, and that’s pretty solid progress.
Knowing how to go from standing still to jogging is a must. Where I find I tend to struggle is recognizing when to go from jogging to sprinting and back down to jogging. What I’ve found to work the best over the course of my life is that if we can get ourselves to jog at a regular daily pace, we then just have to identify the right times to sprint.
Sprint ahead on your goal when the daily routine starts to become boring.
I’ve found two moments that have really stood out to me as great times to sprint. The first, when the jog has started to become mundane. When you usually start jogging, it’s new. Your body and mind are adapting to the new pace and the new way your day is unfolding, but after a while, your body adapts and what was once difficult, and interesting, has now become boring and repetitive. These are some of the best times to start sprinting.
In these cases, I use sprinting to provide some variety form the mundane and to push my regular routine a little bit farther. If I’m reading one page a day from my book, I might sprint and read for 30 minutes, and then adjust my “jog” to start reading two pages a day. This short sprint tends to recharge my mindset on what I’m working towards, reinvigorating me, and then I slow back down from the sprint, but at a higher level jog. This has been great for pushing forward when things get dull.
Sprint ahead on your goal when things start to “feel” right.
The other time I love to sprint on something I’m working towards is when the opportunity feels right. I say, “feels” because it’s not always something that you can really quantify. It’s more of that feeling of knowing everything is starting to line up, you’re feeling great, and deep down you just know, it’s time to sprint. As I’m writing this article, this is exactly the sprint I’m taking. I’ve been working on this article a little bit at a time, but today, for whatever reason, this piece really just felt right to sprint on, so here I am, typing away.
These types of sprints tend to be more about opportunity. They aren’t an attempt to push yourself farther or to try and overcome routine. These types of sprints fall more into the creative category. When you’re just, “feeling it” sort of sprint. These are important sprints to recognize and take advantage of, because they tend to come and go as they please and are not always aligned with our plans, however they can help us make great strides towards our goals. When ever you’re starting to feel, that little bit of extra motivation and you can see the pieces falling into place, it’s time to sprint!
Remember that sprinting towards something can not only help us take great strides towards the things we’re working for, but can also be used to shake things up and help get us to that next level of jogging.