Do the work.
Sure, those three words fit the description, but keep reading because there’s more to it than that. Still, if you are able to follow that advice, things will be looking up in no time. But accomplishing that task is, as they say, easier said than done. You see, it is not that we don’t know WHAT to do; most everyone agrees that hard work really does pay off. However, trying to figure out the HOW is a different story altogether. Tasked with determining how you will do the work to get from point A to point B, from brainstorm to implementation or from business plan to the grand opening can be disastrous. This is where we tend to get tripped up, fall and assume the fetal position until someone piles on or we are forced, kicking and screaming, back to reality.
Given that painful yet familiar set of circumstances, my three words, the ones that will change your workouts and life forever, speak to the how portion of doing the work.
The first word is 10 letters that form the brick wall standing between you and every dream your brain has ever conceived. Resistance, with a capital R. It is that feeling that keeps us from doing the work. If you own a treadmill that serves as a clothes rack or ever turned your back on your “calling,” you know the feeling I am referring to. Resistance is the excuse we make, the story we tell ourselves and the rationalization we create to explain why we never did the work. As Steve Pressfield wrote in the War of Art, Resistance is what we experience when we attempt “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity.”
Wow, that’s powerful stuff. But, now we know that Resistance, not reality, is what renders us lifeless on the floor. Trouble is our initial reaction to resistance is to give in, give up, and turn on the television or smartphone or any other distraction that will make us forget what we set out to do in the first place. Don’t let Resistance keep you from achieving your true potential. Instead, proceed to the second word.
Perseverance; the ally of your dreams and the enemy of Resistance in any form. I am sure you know the word, but have you lived it? You see, there is a difference between thriving and surviving. The first is found in a meaningful pursuit of something you are passionate about. It is a balance of work and well-being that is challenging, engaging and empowering. Whereas the latter is a toxic cycle of negative relationships and experiences brought on by fear and procrastination; Resistance at its finest.
Perseverance is taking action to transform your body or life despite fear of failure and second guessing. It could be as simple as going to the gym when you would rather sit on the couch. Or, you might live out a childhood dream, choosing to do the work that fills your heart instead of your bank account. Perseverance is the habit of doing that which changes our priorities and lives, taming Resistance once and for all.
We know what keeps us from doing the work, Resistance, and that action or Perseverance allows us to regain control. The only thing left to do is the work; today, tomorrow and every day after that.
You can sum up that last sentence with our third word, Consistency. Even little leaguers know what happens when you take your eye off the ball, you strike out. You must remain fixated on what it is you are trying to achieve. It is imperative that you do the work every day. Sure you can win a battle from time to time when you occasionally do the work. But, this is war, one that Resistance will win if you only punch the time clock from time to time.
So, if you are on a mission to slim down and tighten up, a couple spin classes a week and an anything goes diet is not going to bring about the change you are after. When you fail, you can return to the comfort of your couch and the cheap entertainment of reality television until you are ready to take another half-assed run at the next get-fit-fast routine. Or, you could admit your shortcomings, beat back Resistance by taking action and continuing to act each and every day.
You know that secret to success that everyone craves? It’s called doing the work. Now you know what it takes, and we’ve also identified the how. Presented with the choice between the life you live and the life you want, are you willing to do the work? I am not saying it is going to be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it.