“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
-Lao Tzu (and millions of fortune cookies)
We recently talked a lot about the importance of enjoying the Journey. We’re not racing towards an end goal at all costs, but rather finding our rhythm and a pace that works for us. Not asking “ARE WE THERE YET!?”
However, it’s tough to stay motivated when we’re not seeing drastic progress or we’re not quite sure if we are moving in the right direction. It’s tough to not feel like a one-flippered seal “just swimming around in a circle, freaking out his whole family,” right?
So, how the heck can we stay motivated during the slow months? After all, it can often feel like a grind, and grinds aren’t fun.
The solution: We become Hawkeye, and identify each and every tiny metric that shows us we’re heading in the right direction.
We create the new person that we’re trying to become (our Level 50), and then we prove to ourselves each and every day that we’re getting just ONE experience point closer to leveling up and achieving that reality.
We celebrate each small win.
And we reward those small wins with things that reward us back.
Take Any Small Win You Can Get
The scale is not the only metric you should use to look for small wins.
In fact, I hate the scale! It pigeonholes your progress into a 3-digit number. And you are more than a single number.
So, it’s time to develop hawk-like vision and supersonic hearing for little wins.
- Did somebody tell you recently “hey have you lost weight?” They’re not lying, you probably did. Screw that scale! Whether or not you lost weight is irrelevant; you LOOK better, and others are noticing.
- Did your pants fall down today? Congrats, perv! Just kidding. It means you lost inches around your waist and you need to buy new ones. Or maybe invest in a belt.
- Did you get to the top of the stairs without breathing heavy? Congrats, +2 STA to your lungs!
- Were you offered a piece of cake and you turned it down? Congrats, +1 to Willpower, which is a VALUABLE resource.
- Did you finally do your first push up? First pull up? Congrats. You earned +3 STR. The Warriors and Assassins of Nerd Fitness are proud.
- Did you get over your fear and hold a handstand for 0.5 seconds? Congrats. Yoda is incredibly proud of you!
- Did you go talk to that cute guy/gal in the coffee shop? Congrats, you just added +2 Charisma and gained confidence.
- Did you wander into the free weights section of the gym? Congrats, you used 20 seconds of beastmode and conquered your fear.
Each and every one of these things is a step in the right direction.
Each one of these things is the equivalent of a quest completed or grinded-experience toward the next level.
If you had an experience bar in real life, you’d see it filling up.
That’s why this mentality is so important. That’s why these wins are important. These wins are the milemarkers that show you “hey, I am leveling up. I am moving towards my leveled-up life.”
So write them down!
And then frakking celebrate them, because you worked hard for them!
small wins from the rebellion
I love the Nerd Fitness Community – it’s the part of Nerd Fitness that I’m most proud of.
And my favorite part of that community?
This is a place where we can all humble-brag or just brag about the small (or big) victories we’ve had. We probably have friends and family members in real life who are sick of hearing how great things are going for us (because they’re not ready to start their journey quite yet), and a lot of us don’t want to brag about our successes either.
Luckily, that’s what we have a Woot Room for! Check your shyness at the door and type as loudly as you want about the things going right for you. You earned them.
I wanted to kick things off by sharing with you half a dozen of my favorite “little victories” from the Nerd Fitness WOOT room recently:
JoeAwesome: One of my goals for this challenge is to decrease my mile time to 8 min, but more over, increase my running speed to 7.5 mph, a respectable running speed.
I am well on my way. Today I hit my all time low mile time with 8:32.00, Feel good and pumped to break the 8:00 mark!!!
Vella: “A little while back, I made myself a goal of getting down to 70kg. I have been stuck at 71-72 for a good many weeks
But as of yesterday, 69.5! Now, onto the next thing. Super pumped for some chin up and exercise goals!”
Twilight: After years of not feeling good about my (lack of) athletic ability, and of feeling like shit because I couldn’t do full push ups in gym class, I have just done 3 reps of 10 full push ups during BBWW for the first time. They’re a little shallow, but goddamnit they’re the real deal. I was so happy when I did it that I burst into tears and am still crying. Finishing my workout while crying happy tears is really cathartic.
Ferguson911: Hit 273 this week, close to 144pounds lost
Souathra: Been training at an MMA gym for about a month; main focus for now being boxing. I always thought I’d leaving a sparring attempt for a challenge goal down the road because it seemed so darned scary.
Then this morning near the end of a session officially called ‘diet kick’, the instructor told me to pad up. Then he said, ‘Come at me with anything. Anything you want’. I triple-checked this is what he said, what with it all being in Japanese and me being a total wimp. The closest thing to this I’d ever done before was Punch Out on the wii. No predictability here. Can’t just wait to counter either.
So it ended up a good mess of me alternating between freezing like a deer at an interrogation table and flailing like a kitten on a cactus, and him mostly humoring me. But, it was that much-needed first step into the journey of becoming a real fighter. With time and further practice, I’m sure the instinct and sense of flow will develop.
Flac McFae: Heh, was messin around at work and was able to do 1 full pull up and almost a second(like 2 inches short dammit). I haven’t been able to do a pullup for 15 years, so pretty stoked.
And pretty much everything about this thread from LadyWildRoss, who I adore 🙂
We’re simple creatures at heart.
We love doing something challenging and getting rewarded for it. Our brains are hardwired to follow this progress loop (which is why video games are so damn addicting).
So, use that progress loop in your favor and reward yourself as you’re working hard to build your new habits.
There’s just one rule: We’re not going to reward ourselves with crap that cause us to take steps backward:
- “I lost a pound so I get to eat this entire pint of ice cream” is not a good reward.
- “I conquered my fear today so that means I don’t have to step outside of my comfort zone for a whole month!” doesn’t help you live better!
- “I set a new personal best so I can slack off at the gym” is a backwards step!
Instead, we’re going to take a page out of the greatest videogame series of all time, The Legend of Zelda, and reward ourselves with things that reward us back!
When Link gets the boomerang, it allows him to reach the next dungeon where he gets the next item, which then lets him reach the next dungeon, and then he obtains the bow and arrow and is able to….(etc, etc).
You are now Link, no pointy ears or tights required! Reward yourself with things that reward you back:
- Set a personal best by a few seconds on a mile run? Get yourself a new pair of running shorts (subconsciously reminding yourself “I should run more!”)
- Built a habit for 30 days? Amazing! Sign up for that yoga class you always wanted to take.
- Lost a few pounds? Pick up a new pair of pants you can barely fit into, and wear them until THEY are too big!
Every reward should give you a chance to get even closer that leveled up life. Make it fun, but make them things that make you better or things that make you want to be better.
And that concludes the lesson portion of today’s article.
Now it’s time for the fun stuff!
Camp NF on sale on Monday!
Camp Nerd Fitness goes on sale on Monday at 12:00 PM EST!
Space is definitely limited (about 300 slots), and interest has been sky high, so make sure you get a chance to book right away!
If it happens to sell out right quickly, go ahead and sign up for the waitlist. If people cancel over the next few months, we’ll be making our way down the waitlist in the order in which people sign up to fill those slots.
I hope to see you there!
new Nf Shirts
Next week, I’m headed to Chicago to watch my friends Gaelic Storm (the nicest people ever and one of my favorite bands) perform at the House of Blues on Thursday March 13th, with a NF Meetup happening before from 6-8 PM at Moe’s Cantina River North.
Details about the Meetup here. If you want to see me Irish Jig for 90 minutes…not even kidding…I better see you at the show!
With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, and the fact that people keep yelling at us to have more color options in the store, I figure it’s time we add another NF shirt to the Battle Gear Arsenal.
Yeah, you probably saw this design coming 🙂
Whether in brightest day or in blackest night, this shirt will give you all the power you need to represent the Nerd Fitness Rebellion right!
Grab your green NF shirt today. Green shirts for the win!
Speaking of wins…let me get back on track here.
whats your small win?
So I’m going to bribe you.
I want to hear your latest small win…and I don’t care how small it is.
Leave a comment with your small win before Sunday March 9th at 11:59 PM EST and I’ll pick 3 winners at random to win our new green Nerd Fitness shirt.
What’s one way you’ve leveled up recently?
PS: Speaking of meet ups, I actually just landed in Austin, TX, to hang out for SXSW! There’s a Nerd Fitness meet up this Saturday. I Hope to see you there too – the whole NF team will be there!