a different approach

I am under the influence…

… of every book/article I’ve read, movie/tv show I’ve watched, person I’ve spoken with, place I’ve been, and art I’ve seen.  We can’t help it.  We are a sum of all our life experiences.  Since starting this blog, I’ve been struggling with the concept of creativity.  I’ve been trying to come up with my own brand new ideas.  I realized that nothing in this world is absolutely BRAND new; most things are a unique or new combination of things that came before it.

For example, my two favorite blogs are https://markmanson.net/ and https://jamesclear.com/.  I think they both provide their own unique spin on life.  They both inspire me to be my best self and challenge me to think about things from angles other than my default mode.  This past week I devoured a lot of ideas from James Clear and feel a fire burning within that I haven’t felt in a long time.  From this new inspiration, I’d like to share with you a different approach to New Year’s Resolutions.

I typically set big goals that sound great on social media and look good on paper.  I’ll write them on my calendar and keep forwarding the list along.  I’ve had the same ones for 2 years now:  squat and dead lift >200 pounds.  My PR for a back squat is 185# (4/21/15) and my PR for a dead lift is 195# (~11/4/16).  I thought I could hit that extra 5-15 pounds by just going to workouts and not training specifically for these lifts.  Well, I let life get in the way with my alternative work schedule, a shoulder injury, and recently, a very klutzy run in with a box jump that resulted in a visit to the ER and 4 stitches (story for another time, I still laugh at myself about this!).

Sure, the goal was good, but what was incorrect was my approach.  I set these lofty goals without putting in the work and I thought my dreams would magically come true without actually putting in the effort.  After reading a lot of James Clear, I started a new journal today – a journal to log my training!

The problem with setting lofty goals is that the goal itself can actually make me feel worse about myself.  I am comparing my current “sub-par” self to some future, ideal self who hopefully achieved said goal.  The solution?  Change your mindset.  I had the wrong goals all along.  The goal shouldn’t be to lose 40 pounds by summer, or to dead lift 200 pounds by December 31st, or to write a best-seller, or to star in a movie.  The real “goal” is to consistently DO the things that allow you to BE that person.  Effort and progress are much more valuable than the achievement itself.

Here’s how I’m going to change my mindset and focus on the effort, instead of writing down some distant “goal” I’d like to achieve.  I’m just starting this process, but I’m thinking that focusing on the effort itself will be more effective and efficient than writing down some lofty goal.  DOING the work will get me to the finish line anyway.  So don’t worry about your dreams; do the work and you’ll get there!

Old goal:  squat and dead lift >200 pounds.

New mindset, focusing on effort:  train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I can do extra days if I feel like it, but at the bare minimum, I will be working on one of these two lifts these days.  I plan to track my sessions in this cute notebook (life is sweet like honey!  do WORK like a honeybee!).  I’m excited to see my progress and hopefully achieve the old goal ANYWAY, maybe surpass it even, by just showing up constantly in my own life and doing the work.  I also love James Clear’s concept of #tinygains.  Before, I was so focused on hitting a PR and being able to brag about a new number.  Now, I want to hone my strength by increasing the weight just enough to stimulate growth, but also slow enough for it to be sustainable that I grow without injuring myself.  Check out his amazing article here.  https://jamesclear.com/how-to-squat-more.

Old goal:  become an artist.  (See how non-specific this is?  Without a plan, there’s no way this can be achieved!  It’s just some idea in my head that I hope I’ll become someday, and it lets me get down on myself for not being there “yet.”)

New mindset, focusing on effort:  paint, draw, or letter something (and post it!) every Tuesday and Thursday.  I can do more as feel called, but this is my bare minimum that I can measure and track.  I honestly just enjoy doing this so I’ll probably do it more frequently, but this will keep me accountable.  The work of some artists wasn’t appreciated until years or generations after the artist already passed away.  I love this article about letting your voice out.  It isn’t our job to judge our own work or hide away from the world.  Our job is to fully express our unique soul.  Put it out into the world.  Release the haters, learn and hone your craft, and keep creating.  https://jamesclear.com/your-job

I’m finalizing a few more processes I want to implement in the new year.  I’m not going to call them “new year’s resolutions” anymore, because they never worked for me.  The whole point of those “resolutions” was to tap into your potential, challenge yourself to grow, and unleash what you have waiting within you.  The lofty goals were just meaningless words written in my calendar.  It will be more meaningful to me to establish these new habits and put in the work.  DOING these things will help me BE the person I know I am capable of unleashing.

How can you apply this different approach to your own life?  You don’t have to wait until January 1st to start.  As the holidays approach and 2017 comes to a close, take some time to think about where you want to be in another year.  What processes can you DO/implement today that will help you BE that person?


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