On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something that helps me. I talk often in these 5 Spots about habits I utilize physically, nutritionally, and mentally based on my successes and failures. One thing that helps me tremendously that I have neglected to ever mention is prayer. Prayer has become a crucial part of my daily routine, whereas for much of my life that was not the case.
I pray somewhat formally at times but usually it’s informally as I run, drive, go through my day, or with my wife and children. I like to talk about what I’m grateful for, request blessings for myself and others, and ask for guidance on issues both large and small. This gives me comfort and peace more than anything else I do. It allows me to remain hopeful and positive, keeps me grounded, and gives me strength in my best and worst times. I have no idea what your beliefs are, but I can tell you that especially over the last several years, prayer has evolved into my greatest weapon.
A story I’d like to share with you. In my last 100-mile race, I suffered multiple injuries to one of my ankles. At about mile 35, I tripped, twisted it badly for the third time, and fell hard to the ground. I was dejected, lying in mud with intense pain, and still had 65 miles left to go. I had an excuse to quit but decided to get up and try to start moving again. When I did so, I did not feel triumphant and over the next 65 miles I never felt particularly strong or confident. Many times, I felt embarrassed at how slow I had to go after all the training I’d invested. After I finished the race, it took 2 weeks for the swelling in my feet and legs to subside, I couldn’t run for over a month, and it took 3 months to regain sensation in two of my toes.
I share this story because this is what I believe success looks like. It’s often not pretty, is incredibly difficult, and will be painful at times. It will boil down to how badly you want it, whether you can keep believing in yourself when things are dire, and your ability to keep moving forward after countless setbacks. Furthermore, the path to success often will not feel successful. It will be frustrating and slow going. However, when you look back, you will understand that what you achieved was earned over time with small victories you hadn’t realized or appreciated in the moment.
Something I recommend trying. In weight training, doing one extra repetition that your body is unaccustomed to when muscles are fatigued can create a small amount of muscle growth. That single extra rep under stress forces the muscle to adapt by becoming stronger. Done repeatedly, this increases the size, density, and strength of the muscles. This same premise can be used in any aspect of life.
If you ate better than you normally do, could you do that for one more meal? What if you gave your best effort at work and did it again tomorrow? Maybe you could wake up early, study an hour longer, spend extra time with a loved one, or do something positive one more time? Deciding to go/try one more time is a simple goal but an important one. If you can stack “one mores” they cumulatively become something greater. They have the potential to increase the quality and strength of any aspect of your life.
Something I believe. Last Saturday, I took my middle son to the football field, and we did a challenging workout together. It included lunges for a half mile, running stairs, sprinting hills, and dragging a weighted sled. When I got home, my wife asked me to do the same workout, so I went right back to the fields and did it again with her. The next day, my wife and middle son could barely walk and though I was also very sore, I did a couple additional workouts for myself. This may all sound odd, but there is a method to my madness.
I believe that it is important to regularly show the flesh, who is in charge. In fact, sometimes you must drop the hammer on yourself. Physically challenging the body above and beyond what it expects will not only strengthen the body physically but mentally as well. You do not need to drag weighted sleds or sprint hills to accomplish this either. If you normally walk 1 mile, try doing 2 or add in hills. Perhaps you do yoga for 30 minutes, try doing it for 60 or more instead. If you challenge yourself to do substantially more than you thought you could/should even once, it expands your potential more than you can imagine.
Some quotes I Love.
“You can’t complain about what’s on your plate when your whole goal was to eat.” – Steve Harvey
“Dogs bark at what they don’t understand.” – Heraclitus
“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis