Monday, February 27, 2017

Making it Happen

So y'all may remember that my goal for this year is to become stronger.

While I'm very active - I teach or do martial arts four-six days a week, sometimes every single day - it's not enough to materially affect how strong I am.

As an aside - ever wonder how martial arts teachers can get fat while teaching every night?  Well, guess what - teaching a class is a very different animal than being in one, and you don't get nearly a physical challenge that you'd like to get.  When you spend much of your waking life teaching, working a full-time job, and you have family commitments, it's very hard to carve out time to work out yourself.

It's like this, but without all of the exercise involved.

But... there's that goal I have, of getting stronger. If it is important to me, I have to take action.

I basically have two options: body weight (and light weights) workouts at home, or go to a gym nearby.

I know myself well enough to know that I am not self-motivated to work out, and I need an "appointment" to keep at it.  That is, I dislike working out (it is so boring) so I need an extrinsic reason to keep to it, and it needs to be a part of my routine.  I have to make it a habit, like showering for work and writing for this blog are habits.

So, after a lot of exploration of options, I settled in on a new workout regime.  I get up 1/2 hour early, and I have 20 minutes at the gym each morning, Monday-Friday.  Then I get home and my regular morning routine - one I've followed for several years - proceeds as usual.  Saturdays/Sundays are "rest" days, and are usually filled up with martial arts stuff about half the time.

Something had to give to make this happen, and that 1/2 hour of sleep in weekdays is the thing that gave.

Sure, I might be more successful and reach my goal faster if I do an hour at the gym three times a week (or more).  I don't have an hour-long block consistently in my schedule to work out that way, though.  It isn't feasible to try to commit to a schedule I know will be interrupted constantly by other things that I'm committed to.

The early morning workout won't get interfered with by other important matters that I'm not willing to give up.  I won't ever have it conflict with a training opportunity or the need to stay after class to work with a student.  Working out in the morning when my brain is sleepy makes it less problematic that I find it incredibly boring, and I only have to endure it 20 minutes at a stretch.

My schedule won't allow it.  But I have been tempted...

It took me a couple of months to figure it out, but I'm in the process of making this as much of a habit and a part of my routine as showering and working on this blog has become.

I noted above about how I have to sacrifice something to make this work.  I gave up the sleep.  It's not a huge sacrifice, mind you, but it's enough that I notice it (and I'll be going to bed earlier in the evenings too).

That's the way it is, though, when you want to achieve things. Sometimes, you have to give up something important, if the goal matters to you.

Take learning the martial arts.

How often have you been in online martial arts forums or discussion groups and you see some variant of this question asked:

I don't have the time or the money to train in the martial arts with a teacher.  How do I become a martial artist?
You and I know the real answer to this question.

You don't become a martial artist without spending the time and money to train.  Just like you won't become strong without working out somehow with weights, just like you won't lose weight without paying attention to your diet, just like you can't acquire any skill without a lot of practice.

There is no way to achieve anything without making it a priority and finding out how to work it into your life, sometimes sacrificing something you care about to make it happen.

Take the person above who wants to become a martial artist without the, y'know, work and effort.  He is not willing to sacrifice his time and money - and other things, such as his safety and his comfort - in order to achieve his goal.

So, he doesn't want to be a martial artist, not really.  He likes the idea of being one without doing anything it takes to become one.  You and I know that becoming a martial artist is a lot of work, a lot of time, some money, and it becomes something that's a priority in your life. If you're not willing to do any of that, you can't be a martial artist.

You can cosplay and LARP and pose with weapons, but you can't be a martial artist without putting in the work and sacrificing time and money to do so.

Just like I can't become stronger without getting up way before dawn is even a thing and going to they gym, Monday-Friday.  If I am to work on getting stronger, and have it be more than wishful thinking, this is how it had to happen.

As tired and as sleepy as I am, I'm happy that I'm finally back in the gym and making this goal happen.

What goals are you working on, and what did you have to sacrifice to make it happen?  Tell us about it in the comments!