Structure and Rules
It's early January and I am getting a chance to adventure with one of my favourite humans... my son. I know I am biased, but then I am okay with that. In 2022, my son did a Murph workout everyday to raise funds for Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a cause he strongly believes in. This Murph involved a one mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats and then another mile run. He did it wearing a 20 pound weight vest.
It being the start of the new year, many folks are jumping on the resolution wagon and holding on tightly to make changes that will improve their lives. They create rules like no longer eating sugar, or giving up alcohol, or exercising more. Fantastic! And if you read my previous post, you will get a glimpse into what I think about these kinds of resolutions. Bottomline - they are great, but probably will not really get you what you think you want.
Rules are rules that are often broken unless the consequence is severe enough to deter breaking them. OR if there is structure in place to prevent breaking them. For example, if I want to give up alcohol and I check myself into a rehab facility, I will have the structure in place to make being successful easier. Can I sustain it without the structure? That is why many who come out of rehab end up indulging in their drug of choice after they are back out. A google search will give you a plethora of reading on the statistics. Another google search will reveal that less than 10% of people stick with their new years resolutions.
Why are these statistics so low? Is it just terrible discipline? Or is it something more? My answer is yes and no. If you peruse the google adds that pop up in a new window, the answer is pretty clear. We humans like one absolute answer. We don't want to wade into the mud to understand that variety of factors that can influence our success or failure. We look for the one thing we need to do to drop belly fat, or the five foods we should never eat, or the best five exercises we can do to burn fat.
But that is hogwash. There is no silver bullet. It is more like a chaotic whirlwind that has factors pushing in one way or another, some zapping your energy from sticking to rules and others giving you the boost you need.
Which factors can positively impact your ability to stay on track? Here's a list...
Our brains are wired to find the problems. It is how we can maintain safety in a world where things can be our demise. When you are paying attention to your pursuit of your goal, whatever action that is, make a determined effort to find the positive, the blessing. While skiing recently after a thirty plus year hiatus, I was in awe of how my body remembered what to do and how amazing it was to have fresh snow to plow through, the absolute beauty that surrounded. These positive vibes make the spills, the mistakes easier to handle. This is much easier to do when we have low expectations.
When meditating this morning, something I have done almost daily for the past decade, I was noticing the struggle getting the same depth of ease. I was becoming frustrated by the chaos of thoughts that I was following, rather than the mantra. Then I felt this thought, "Nothing I do is ever right." Wow! Yes, there was a hidden gem that made me give up on meditation on many mornings. With that thought came a resigned attitude I know well. I decided to not believe that thought. I made a decision to believe that my efforts do matter and they are good enough. This later thought created ease and inspiration to stick to the practice.
As my son would say, discipline comes down to choices. In every moment we choose our next thought and our next action. If we are paying attention, it gives us the opportunity to choose differently than we have in the past. If we are not being deliberate, we will most likely follow a habit we may be trying to change.
Good luck with those resolutions and stay positive! If you struggle, find a coach or trusted friend to help inspire you.
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