This morning, I didn’t want to do kettlebell…
I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling. You have something you know you need to do. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s working out. Maybe it’s sitting in meditation. Maybe it’s a staffing decision in your business. Whatever! But you’re just not feeling the mojo you know would help you push through.
So whaddya do?
What did I do?
My goal this month is to do 1,200 kettlebell swings with my 53-pound kettlebell. (Plus an equal number of Russian twists — a core workout. I’ve dropped push-ups from the rotation for now because of a rotator cuff injury.)
I have a spreadsheet. And over time, that spreadsheet has evolved to tell me all sorts of information that helps me stay on track for the goal.
For example, to hit 1,200 swings in February’s 28 days, I need to average 42.86 swings per day.
When I woke up this morning (officially including today into the average), I was at an average of 40 swings per day. Or, exactly 42.86 behind where I needed to be before the end of the day, to be on track.
I don’t like to be behind on my goal. In fact, this month I’ve been consistently a little ahead. (My pace for most of the month has been 50 swings per day, for a monthly total of 1,400. Usually that’s 100 swings every other day.) The last couple days I had been slacking, and now I was in this predicament of needing to catch up.
If I wanted to stay on track, I had to do at least those 42.86 swings.
But I hadn’t wanted to pick up the kettlebell at all in the last couple days. And I definitely didn’t want to this morning.
It would be easy to just skip it. I’d skipped the last few days. And even if I skipped today, I still had almost half the month to catch up. Besides, I’m not really accountable on this goal to anybody but me. It’s up to me — and me alone — to hit it. And if I miss it, I’m the only one who has to know about it.
So what did I do?
I picked up the kettlebell, and started swinging!
Everything in my mind told me not to. My first set was 40 swings, which takes about a minute and a half, and I was bored halfway through. Bored, swinging a 53-pound weight around. (Really, Roy?!) But I kept swinging, until 40. Then I did my twists, which are thankfully a little faster.
Then, I sat, resting, not wanting to do my next set. I got up, and started swinging anyway. 30 reps this time.
Thankfully I stack sets now so that it’s fewer reps each time. Because I was still bored. I started to wonder: Is there was a way to get the world’s shortest workout done any quicker?
But I figured even by the time I was done with my 40 and 30 sets, I was most of the way done. So I pushed through my sets of 20 and 10 — for a total of 100 reps for the day.
I updated my spreadsheet.
Now I’m back on track. My pace for the month is up to 46.67 reps per day, and I’m about 57 reps ahead of my goal pace.
And, I felt better after doing it!
Workouts are good, because they release all kinds of pleasurable endorphins. So even if you didn’t want to get started, you almost always feel better after you’re done.
But something else happens after you get over this nonstarter hurdle. And that’s the real reason I’m writing about this today.
The most important time to do ANYTHING important is when you least want to do it…
I think I first heard this in the context of daily meditation. But I’ve also heard it applied to workouts. To writing. To anything else.
The most important time for me to do kettlebell is NOT when I’m excited about it, feel like starting, and know it’ll feel good.
It’s those times like this morning, when it’s the last thing I want to do, and I’d much prefer just sitting around NOT exerting my muscles to swing around a 53-pound iron ball.
I won’t get and stay fit if I only work out when it’s easy.
Because it’s almost never easy.
Same with meditating first thing after I wake up.
When I get up first thing in the morning, there’s a strong pull toward technology. To check my email. To open Google News and check the headlines. To check the social media notifications that have popped up.
But that’s not what gets me the kind of benefits from a long-term daily meditative practice.
Even when I want to do those things, I know I will be best off in the long run by making sure sitting down to meditate is my first priority in the morning.
Our true strength is not revealed in doing things when they’re easy, but when they’re hard!
This definitely applies to productivity, too…
I think most of my readers are copywriters. Either it’s their profession, or a role they fill in the context of their career or entrepreneurial life.
Which means that most of my readers have, at one time or another, probably experienced something that falls under the category of “writer’s block.”
How about you?
Have you ever had a time where you knew you needed to write, but the words just weren’t coming out of you? And how painful did that feel, when at other times you’ve sat down to write and the words and ideas have just poured out?
In those moments, there’s a dilemma.
Do you do other things, and come back when inspiration strikes? Or do you tough it out, and make yourself start putting words on paper, hoping some magic will happen?
You can probably connect the dots based on my kettlebell story, and figure out pretty quickly which side I fall on.
The most prolific, most financially-successful writers in the world don’t treat writing like it’s something that happens when you’re inspired. They treat writing like it’s work you show up and do at a certain time.
If I waited for inspiration, do you think I’d put 1,000+ words of high-quality content into your inbox every work day? No way! And that’s on top of all the other writing, client and personal, that I do every day.
I learned very early on that the kind of inspiration that strikes on its own is few and far between, but the inspiration that leads to massive output only comes when you sit down and get started.
If you know you need to get something done, and you don’t feel like starting, start anyway.
You’ll often find that when you start to develop any momentum, more momentum will come easier. And you’ll end up with a finished product, rather than the pain of procrastination.
You’ll get more done, and enjoy greater success.
There really is no other way.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,