As the summer comes to a close and you prepare to restart your “normal” routine there’s a good chance you’ll be dedicating some time to set your intentions and lay out a plan of action. This year however, you may also find yourself wondering where to begin.
Years past, September was pretty predictable. Kids would go back to school, adults would settle back into their regular work routine, and – for many people – they would refocus on their fitness after having spent the summer away from the gym. It was the standard “restart” month. Restart school, restart work, restart fitness.
In 2020 things got weird.
For most people I’ve spoken with, any sense of routine and consistency evaporated overnight. Even the most forward-thinking, detail-oriented, hyper-organized planners found themselves in a reactionary state.
With an ever-changing landscape, we couldn’t count on things playing out the way we expected them to on any given day. We’d wake up and learn about changing restrictions, rising or falling case numbers, gyms and offices closing, re-opening, and then closing again. Even back-to-school was met with fear and trepidation for many.
We lost sight of the long term in our need to focus on simply surviving one day to the next. We came to expect the unexpected but, as a result of that, many of us forgot what it feels like to create deliberate consistency or routine in our lives with the intent of long-term improvement.
Human beings are creatures of habit. It’s the way our brains are wired.
We do something, and then we do it again, and again.
The more we repeat something, the more that becomes our default pattern. This is true for our thoughts, our skills, our movements, our daily routines… just about everything. The unfortunate reality of this is that it rings true for patterns that positively affect our lives as well as those that have negative implications. The more we repeat a pattern, the harder it is to break it and re-write a new one.
What does this mean for 2021’s “restart month?”
Honestly, it’s probably going to be more challenging than most of us remember. We’re that much more out of practice than we typically would be at this time of year. Not only have we not practiced the habits necessary to be successful in well over a year, we actively built habits and routines that are likely to sabotage our chance of success!
I don’t mean to sound alarmist. I bring this to the forefront of your attention so that you can do something about it. Bringing a level of awareness to this challenge can help you avoid the pitfalls, but it’s not a guarantee of success.
There’s a proverb that goes something like this:
On the first day, I walked down the street and fell in a hole that I did not know was there.
On the second day, I walked down the same street and once again fell in the hole, even though I knew it was there.
On the third day, I walked down the street and stepped around the hole.
On the fourth day, I walked down a different street.
By bringing a higher level of focus and anticipating that you will be faced with greater internal resistance than usual, you can bypass “the first day” from the proverb above.
That still leaves the question of how we get to the third and fourth day.
As someone who took a good chunk of time off from the gym over the course of the pandemic and has been spending the past few months restarting his fitness routine, Riaz Meghji (a keynote speaker and author of the bestselling book Every Conversation Counts) shared a few golden nuggets of wisdom.
When we asked Riaz what stopped him from restarting sooner he said this:
“It wasn’t because I didn’t have time.
It wasn’t because I didn’t have discipline.
It was because I didn’t make it a necessity.
I focused on family and work and I made the mistake of putting health and wellness lower on the set of priorities.
I was working from home, as many of us do. I was hunched over a desk. My posture was off. My hips started hurting and I realized I wasn’t moving the way I used to move.
What this pandemic has taught me is the importance of health and wellness and that if we don’t have that physically or mentally, everything else will be off.
Coming back to [the gym] I was able to move again. We did it in a safe way and I can feel the changes. I’m nowhere close to where I was pre-pandemic but it takes time. We’ve got to put in that effort and I’ve noticed that change in the past few months.”
We followed up by asking if there were any other key lessons he learned from his experience. Here’s what he had to say:
“It reminded me of two things to help you be successful in any area of your life: 1) get a coach, and 2) be coachable.” When it came to restarting his fitness he “had trust that [his] coach would level up his sense of awareness, give [him] a blueprint to take action, and keep [him] accountable. THAT you cannot put a price on.”
He went on to say that whether the growth you’re seeking “is physical, mental, personal, or professional, it’s a game of compound interest” and that “having a coach – somebody that is investing in you, your progress, and keeping you accountable – shows you the compound effects of consistency.”
If you’re serious about restarting your best LIFE this fall, our team of Professional Training Coaches are here to help level up your sense of awareness, give you your blueprint to take action, and provide you with the accountability you need to be successful.
Blog credit: Sean Allt