We all want to be great at something. Some of us want to be great at many things. The thing is, we don’t magically become great at anything by talking or dreaming abut it. Okay, we can become great at magical thinking…..but we’re not 4 years old anymore. There really is greatness within each of us, but it’s time to figure this out so that we can reach our potential and enjoy the amazing rewards and satisfaction.
That crossfitter with the amazing booty didn’t wake up like that after late night skinny cows and a half bottle of pinot noir. The amazingly bendy yogi you follow on Instagram; he’s not half-assing through class once a week. The entrepreneur who sold the world 5 billion of something we didn’t even know we needed? She didn’t do that punching a clock.
Top performers in sports, arts, business, and academics share something that we are ALL capable of: consistency. They show up mentally and physically; they stay the whole time. But let’s face it, most of us have more going on than just finding time for our chosen sports, disciplines, arts, etc. Real life is constantly happening.
The irony is that the stress and chaos of real life is exactly why we need to make the time for personal challenges/ disciplines that allow us to become great at something. For some goals, it’s a daily commitment, and for others, less. The hard part is creating the schedule or plan, and sticking to it. Some of us, myself included, need some extra help with this.
I mean, can I really call myself a martial artist if I’m not regularly showing up for class? Nobody can take away my black belt for not going. Look at all of the times I did go last month! I’ve got a hundred justifications and a dozen techniques for calling it in. Aches and pains? Used that. Sick kids? Yep. Dental appointment? Yes, at least twice a year. Oops, I’m out of gas! I need to go to the grocery store. ALL OF IT….total BULLSHIT. The truth is, sometimes I don’t fucking feel like going. It’s hard. It’s much, MUCH easier to stay home.
Step 1: OWN YOUR BULLSHIT
You know exactly what you’re doing. And I get it. And so does everybody else. Make a list of all of the ways you wiggle out of making it to the class, the gym, the practice, the lesson, the lecture, etc. Write down your most ridiculous excuses, have a good laugh at your own expense, and forgive yourself for being human.
Step 2: Accountability Partner
Now that you know you’re not fooling anyone, including yourself, it’s time to call somebody that you trust and respect. Tell them what your goal is. Yes, you have to say it out loud. Like this: “Hi, it’s me. I’m going to train for a race I’ve always wanted to run. I’m having trouble getting my ass out the door 4 days a week. Would you please be my accountability partner and help me reach my goal?” Saying it out loud gives your goal more energy and makes it real. And, having somebody you respect looking out for you makes your journey to greatness a little less scary.
Step 3: Reward Yourself
So you have a partner and you’re doing pretty good. You’re committed, being consistent, and starting to progress toward your short or longterm goal. But, you’re still thinking about not going to practice or class, and the old thoughts won’t go away. This is normal. We actually have to unlearn behaviors like making excuses and slacking off. The only way to unlearn the behavior is to keep showing up, even when you’re pissed about it. Offset this pissed feeling by setting up some planned rewards for yourself. Tie your rewards to mini goals. For example: “If I can run 15 miles by Friday, I’ll give myself a guilt free weekend off.” Or, “I’m making it to class 10 times this month, then I’m treating myself to _____.”
Continue the hard work and dig in at the precise moment that you’re ready to say “uncle”. I believe in you. I know you can do it. That’s because I, Robyn Jennings, the queen of excuses, can do it. The real reward is in the growth that happens when you know you persevered and GOT THAT SHIT DONE! And then you’re one step closer to greatness.