This article was inspired by a little old lady I observed while in my car driving home today. The woman looked to be fairly elderly, walking slowly along the sidewalk holding a large bag. As I drove closer, suddenly she stood up straight, grabbed her bag tight and started to run. Not just run, sprint. I noticed that she saw the bus coming and really, really wanted to catch it rather than waiting for the next one, which is obviously why she made that decision. Suddenly this somewhat frail looking woman could become Usain Bolt just because she suddenly wanted to. She did catch the bus, by the way (good for her).
As a society we typically take the easy way out, unless it is something that we really want. Then we will beat ourselves up, lie, work ourselves into mental illness or neglect other important things simply to get it done. This all comes down to simple priorities and motivation. When was the last time that you missed dinner with your family or an event because you were working late? When was the last time you skipped breakfast in order to get an extra ten minutes of sleep? People tend to confuse “want” as opposed to “have to” more often than they need to. As Tony Robbins would say, if you can change your “shoulds” into “musts” then your brain will literally change the way it thinks about things.
Think about this the next time you tell yourself that you “should go to the gym”. Change the way you say it to “I have to go to the gym”. The intention completely changes. Just like we as trainers manipulate the intention of different exercises, you can literally change the intention of how to spend your day to day activities – without having to drop everything and sprint. Find that reason and everything suddenly becomes easier. I often tell people – what if someone was holding a gun to your head? Would you get it done? What if your children or family were at risk? What would suddenly change that thing from 4th on your priority list to 1st?
In short – what is your bus? What would make you drop everything and sprint, possibly sacrificing injury and losing your bags without a second thought? Is it your job? Your family? Or maybe is there another bus you should be running for – like your health? So often I hear stories from clients and people I know that they wish they had started to take care of themselves sooner, or just stayed consistent with what they were doing before another bus came along that they felt they had to start running for. The thing is, once that bus pulls away and you miss it there might be another one coming, but it won’t take you to the same place. You might have to travel a few extra stops before you get to where you want to go.
I’m obviously an advocate of taking care of your health and well-being first, and then everything else kind of falls into place. This can be as simple as meditation, finding an activity that inspires you or setting a goal that motivates you to get out and do something active. And the next time you think about stopping the momentum, just imagine that you look behind you and that bus is coming down the road. Maybe you won’t have to sprint to get there, but it might help you pick up your pace just a bit.