Have you ever noticed how hard it is to do something one time? To just do something once feels nearly impossible. Let’s talk through a couple examples. Could you try just once to eat anchovies? I know, I know, they are these gross little fish that TV and movies have basically made the most disgusting thing on the planet. Who would want to eat these nasty little fish? Particularly if you’re like me, living in rural mid-west, this is not a thing we do. After all, we have deer, bear, and even smelt that are far more plentiful and more appetizing than anchovies. We come up with excuses like, I don’t know where to find them, or how to cook them. What happens when we don’t like it? Why would I waste money on something I know we won’t like? I’m maybe could do it but I could never have my kids eat that?! As if we’ve never found a new recipe on Pinterest or found a new ingredient in the grocery store. We act like our kids have never disliked a meal and we don’t have a completely canned response for what happens when they don’t want to eat something we’ve made.
Or think about a time you were invited to go for a run with a friend or even were suggested to do it on your own. I would be willing to bet you didn’t have the right shoes, it was too cold, hot, windy, or humid. Your clothes were too loose or too tight to be right for running. You are too tall, too short, or too fat to just start running. And very likely, you do not have time. (Please keep in mind that I know these excuses because I’ve used these excuses.) All of this we say as if we don’t own shoes and clothes we walk in which is very near running. The weather is certainly not setting any new records that millions of other people haven’t run in before. If we started a run and weren’t able to run the full distance, we would have no idea how to stop and walk the rest of it. Finally, we would rather spend 30 minutes complaining that we don’t have the time than to take the 20 minutes to actually do the run.
We love to think about going hard this time of year. We make these plans to lose weight, get healthy, save thousands of dollars, be more adventurous, etcetera etcetera. To put any of it into action is so much harder than we imagine though. We come up with all of the excuses that we already know the solution to and act as if just planning it out was enough but things like ‘how would I even cook that’ thwart us like the summit of a mountain. And again, I’m not immune. I am not saying ‘we’ do these things as a social marketing way to feel united. I’m saying ‘we’ because just last week I didn’t go for a run because the right sports bra was in the wash and even though I have about 7 that are ready to go, I couldn’t possibly run without the purple leopard print one (insert all the eye rolls).
What if this year, instead of making the grand plan, we just did the thing? What if, instead of restricting calories and signing up for the gym membership and buying the new fancy water bottle we just acted. What if we ate a salad for lunch today but didn’t calculate how many calories were in the dressing? What if we tried a new recipe without it fitting into the elaborate meal plan? What if tomorrow we put on our worst fitting shorts or sweatpants, the wrong bra, and the shoes that couldn’t possibly work and just tried going for a jog? I know, doing it once won’t get you the results you want, but it will get you a start. Trying it once could be the start of a habit you do every day, but you don’t have to force it. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Doing something once will beat out making the plan to go hard, and then doing nothing, every single time.
OK, so that’s it, that’s the blog post. Stop reading now if you just wanted to be entertained and inspired (as inspired as you can be by anchovies and ill-fitting sweatpants). If this got you thinking hey, I might want to do a little something more to kick start my goals without putting a ton of time into the grand plan, I’ll let you in on a secret. You really just need a single thing to focus on, a why bigger than your excuse, and someone to keep you accountable. I can walk you through that here, in the Challenge, but if you’re just going to make a plan and then not do the thing…. see above and don’t bother. If you’re in, just remember, you just have to try.