Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Check this post out on my new blog at http://polecompete.com/2014/07/two-steps-forward-one-step-back/

Will Power Isn’t Real

When people become pregnant, they start stocking up on specific products (that aren’t even baby related). Marketing gurus know this and predict the pregnancy (sometime in advance of the rest of the family.). Like the professional marketers that they are, they send the expecting couple direct mailers with lots of coupons for cribs, diapers, and other stuff that newly expecting parents might want or need.

 

Aside from being a tad creepy, this little bit of marketing knowledge is critical to your success with your nutrition, training, and health.

 

Consider for a moment the idea of will power. People who are trying to get healthier usually experience a gap between their knowledge of what will make them healthier and their ability to follow through and make those changes. Those folks then lament their lack of willpower.

 

Instad of being one of those people and beating your head against the proverbial brick wall, consider that will power isn’t real. Doesn’t exist. You made it up, probably because you watched too many Iron Will type movies when you were a kid.

 

Instead, be like Target and capitalize on disruptions to everyday life. The reason that the marketing works is because Target knows that people change their habits when routines change. When people have kids, they change their shopping patterns and Target makes sure that those new parents establish their new shopping routines at Target.

 

Getting knocked up is one way to knocked out of your routine, but you can capitalize on this idea on a much smaller scale. For example, if you grab a burger on the way home from work, try a different commute. If you snack on ice cream late at night, stop keeping it in the house. If you eat when you are stressed, make a point of going for a short walk to clear your mind instead. I once beat a habit of eating a brownie from the cafe at my work every morning by exiting the office from a different door for a few months.

 

Identify the specific actions that lead you unhealthy choices, and then change those actions. Remove the less desirable options. Remember that the secret to discipline is laziness. You will be much more successful when you realize that will power isn’t real.

Miss me? Get Used to It…

I have not been updating much recently, and that will continue for the foreseeable future.

 

I’m simplifying everything in my life right now. And I do mean everything… I’ve thrown away a lot of things I own. I combined some bank accounts into one. I redecorated my cubicle, mostly by taking things off the walls. I threw most of it away. I took all but 8 items down from my goals board.

 

I have also cancelled my pole membership. I am close to canceling my phone service too.

 

I’ve been working towards many, many goals for a long time. Because I’ve been working towards so many, my progress has been incremental.

 

I’m fed up.

 

I need focus.

 

And because it’s me, and I do nothing by halves, this is my approach, I’m just getting rid of things, commitments, appointments, subscriptions, even ideas.

 

I scheduled in about two hours a week to work on the 6 of the items on my goals board. The only fitness goal that made the cut was to do a minute and a half of handstands every morning. I am adding three hours a week of generic maintenance exercise.

 

When I make my to do list in the morning, I am only allowing myself to add one item. A single thing to focus on, dedicate my time to, and finish.

 

I will not take this approach for forever, but psychologically, I desperately need some progress. Progress only comes from hours (in pole or in any other endeavor)- and so I’m putting my hours toward one thing at a time for a while.

 

I will still post to this blog, but probably only once a month or so, until I’m mentally in a place where I can do more. I’m sure as I post I’ll let you know how my experiment in focus is going.

 

 

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation:

It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power. – Robert T. Kiosaki

Weekly Wakeup Workout:

  • Do a handstand (or headstand) against a wall. Time yourself for two minutes. This is harder than it sounds!

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation: 

Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better. – Jim Rohn

Weekly Wakeup Workout:

  • While you are still in bed, stick your feet straight up into the air and then point and flex your toes. Repeat 20 times.
  • 30 seconds of high knees. While you work toward driving your knees into your chest, keep your arms straight out and parallel to the floor and flex your hands so they are at right angles to your arms.
  • 20 hip circles and 20 shoulder circles in each direction.
  • Smile!

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation

The world is mostly a playground.

Weekly Wakeup Workout

  • Run in place for one minute
  • High knees (running in place except trying to drive your knees all the way up to your chest) for one minute.
  • 30 jumping jacks

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation

Don’t despair: Despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don’t- surrender to events with hope. – Alain de Botton

Weekly Wakeup Workout

  • Lay down on your back and then roll up until you are standing in a very low squat. As you get warmer, straighten your legs into a wheelbarrow when you are on your back. Repeat 30 times.
  • 20 pushups (I dare you to make them clapping pushups)

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation:

I am capable of everything I need to move forward.

Weekly Wakeup Workout

20 ski jumps (jump as high as you can to the right, and then back to the left. Repeat 20 times.)

30 Hollow belly crunches. Lay on your back, and make a V with your body with your bottom at the bottom. Move your legs and head toward each other. Keep your knees straight. To make it more difficult, reach your arms above your head instead of leaving them by your side.

Chops

“And many strokes, though with a little axe, Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered Oak.” -Shakespeare

One of the best things that I’ve been doing to reach my dance, career, and educational goals (aside from keeping an awesome goal board) is to have an accountability partnership with one of my friends.

The premise is based on the quotation above. If just keep doing things every day to get to your goals, you’ll eventually reach them. The rule is that my friend and I have to e-mail each other with our 5 “chops” that we did the previous day to get closer to our goals. If we don’t make five chops, we have to donate a set amount of money to a charity of the other’s choosing.

There’s nothing magical about the number 5, but it seems to be a reasonable number. Knowing you have to report back to someone who will hold you accountable is sometimes the push between doing something or not.

In terms of pole, this has forced me to do my mental choreography (where I practice my choreography in my head and annoy anyone else around me by playing whatever I’m working on on repeat), to actually do my morning stretches/ exercises, to actually sign up for more classes when I feel scroungy and don’t want to, to work on my handstands.

Set some goals and find someone who will keep you accountable and try it out!

Weekly Wakeup Workout

Affirmation:

It is healthy to say uncle when your bone’s about to break. – Jonathan Franzen

Weekly Wakeup Workout:

Squat. Get your butt low enough  that you can  touch the ground with your fingers while keeping your chest up. Explode into a jump, stretching out and trying to touch your ceiling. Repeat 25 times.