One of my all-time favorite quotes is, “the proof of desire is in the pursuit.” My dad told me this when I was young and I’ve always hung on to it. From that point on, when I heard someone say the phrase, “I wish I could” or, “I wish I was more,” I always thought, “no you don’t.” There are exceptions, but for the majority of us, if we want to play the piano, or learn a new sport, or get more fit, or accomplish something in life, we can. It’s simply a matter of pursuing it with our time and energy.
If being fit is something you say you want, but isn’t integrated in to your value system, you aren’t going to be fit. We all have values and pursue those things we value. Sometimes this is implicit in our lives, like when we get home, crash on the couch and turn the t.v. on. We’re exhausted from the day and just need to unwind and relax. TV isn’t probably something we’ve consciously thought we value and intentionally try pursue, it just happens. What we do value is a little reprieve from the day. Our bodies and minds almost mandate it, right?!
As a gym owner I meet all types of people and have trained a lot of different types of clients. I have clients in their 60’s that still wake up before 5am in the morning to come train with us to stay in shape. I also have clients that are inconsistent, show up late, or miss sessions. So, what’s the difference in these people? Is it a personality difference? Was one person’s day really that much worse than another’s? Was traffic really that bad? It can all be reduced to value. The person who misses their session because they just couldn’t get away from work, or the person who is perpetually late, both have something they value more than being on time and at their training session. They may value work more, or sleeping just a few minutes longer and so on, and so on. For the person who shows up on time each and every time, they obviously value that time in the gym over anything else. It’s as simple as that! So, next time you use a phrase like, “I just didn’t have time” or, “I just couldn’t get away,” try being honest with yourself and say, “I valued something else more.” When you start being honest with yourself, you can start to adjust your values and the time you spend pursuing them. Being honest with yourself is the first step in changing those values.
Here is an exercise that can help you re-prioritize your values.
Write down three things you want to value and pursue more:
- Play the guitar
- Make it to more of my son’s games
- Exercise 3 days a week
Now, write down three ways you are going to value and pursue the top 3, and devalue and not pursue the bottom 3
- Every time I pick up my phone for something not important, I have to do 10 push ups.
- Instead of watching 1 hour of TV a day, I will watch 30 minutes of TV and play the guitar for 30 minutes
- Instead of always staying late at work, I will get off early and go to my son's game. If I have too much work to do, I will go in early so I can get off in time to make the game.