today is the 93rd day of my a bit peculiar 100 days fitness challenge (read more here). this means that 13 weeks together with a few days have already passed. i used to write an update a week. however during last three weeks there have been so much chaos and sloping around not the best decisions. it was also the final phase of preparation for the marathon race (more details about the marathon preparation period – here and about the race itself – here).
therefore in this article i will describe all three weeks. it is easy to do since the state of mind and the kind of decisions made were very much alike during them all.
nothing is neither guaranteed nor happens by default
never celebrate too early
i do remember very well that during weeks 3 and 4 i could not help smiling and pointing out the fact that it had become so easy to maintain the new habit. i was so happy that all cravings for binge eating and making bullshit decisions had been killed. in my opinion they had been killed.
however during the last three weeks everything has moved to a slightly different direction. and not for the first time.
the harsh reality
the magic number of days – approximately 21 – is frequently considered as an amount of time necessary in order to change one’s habits completely. it is said that if one manages to (for example) live without swearing for three weeks in a row without a break then the probability of continuing such clean way of communication for that human being approaches 100% easily.
yes, i have definitely experienced that. however.
the story tells nothing about what happens further. in my case it was not ‘and he lived happily ever after’. i have encountered so many paths leading to the left, to the right and to every other possible direction except for forwards.
i remembered a smart way that odyssey had come up with in order to avoid being seduced by sirens. he filled his crew members’ ears with beeswax so that they could not hear sirens singing. he also asked to tie him to a ship pole and not let him go no matter how hard it would be. the same technique would have helped me during these hard moments as well.
speaking simply i understood that roots of all harmful habits are not gone. and most likely they will never be. i assume they stay with the mind forever. luckily the human being is able to become stronger and learn to trick the mind in order not to end up in its traps every time.
there is a very similar phenomenon in running up a hill: the hill never gets shorter or less inclined. that is the runner who becomes fitter every time and as the time passes he or she acquires an ability to cope with that steep distance better and better.
however by far this does not mean that by becoming stronger the runner gets an ability to teleport from the point of beginning to the top of the mountain without putting any effort. the athlete still needs to breathe, to move, to put that foot in front of the other one and push the body forwards. and this is not the same as sunbathing at the beach during a lazy sunday midday.
absence of default values
eliud kipchoge did not overtake the world record in marathon running by default or just because he is among the best runners in the world. it is rather the opposite – he is one of the best runners in the world because he has been running so fast and putting millions of tons of effort during his whole life.
if someone gave me a coin every time i heard someone saying
he has so much will. he will definitely do that. i wish i had at least a fraction of it.
i would have had a huge pile of them by now.
people enjoy giving the credit to everything else but the hard work and effort put in order to achieve some great result. they usually assume that a significant and well above the average outcome can only be achieved if you are genetically gifted, if you have inherited a rich starter pack, if you own a vault of will, if you were born under a lucky star or if god loves you. in other words they give all the credit to something uncontrollable and unachievable for every simple human being.
i think this is nothing else but the self defence at its finest. it looks like by thinking in such way the mind of that person is trying to avoid all the hard work in case the person understood that everything is actually much simpler. the mind is afraid of all the uncomfortable situations it would have to encounter in case the person decided to start working his or hers ass off towards some goal. our mind enjoys being in a comfortable place. usually the highly self-disciplined way of living is not that pleasurable for the mind.
imagine two persons: x and y. assume they both weight 150kg each. suddenly the person x decides to burn off the unnecessary fat tissue from the body and start a healthy way of living, to get rid of old harmful habits. meanwhile the y lives the usual way.
x starts exercising. eats well, does not binge on sugar and junk food. leads a self disciplined lifestyle. becomes patient and works hard every day.
assume after two years x and y meet. however now x weights 80kg while y remains at the same mark of 150. and we have the classical situation:
- y is amazed by how well x has progressed over two years.
- y says x is super awesome and admits that he or she would love to achieve the same.
- y thinks that x possesses a superhuman will strength and is a greatly gifted person.
- maybe y starts searching for excuses and screams ‘i am obese and happy!’. however he or she cries when the elevator is out of order.
- y would feel sorry for himself or herself.
this is exactly where i observe the appearance of self defence system. the person y does everything in order to convince the mind not to make uncomfortable decisions. just imagine – two years without a roll? no way! the human mind is in an endless crave for comfort.
in my opinion it is not that sophisticated
however things are much simpler in my opinion. there are no chosen ones, no miracles and gifts of will. everything is as simple as making a decision to work hard, suffer and keep going further. you are responsible for what you say, you are responsible for what you put in your mouth (whether it is junk food or genitalia of your neighbour when you are married), you are responsible for how fast you run, how much you lift, how fit you are and so on.
everyone is in the same battle with cravings and other bad things. the person x wanted to binge on these delicious muffins as much as y did. maybe x used to dream of a huge bowl of ice cream and a lazy tv time every night as much as y did. however by making a different decision a different final stop was approached respectively.
it was not easier for x to achieve the goal. everyone struggles. everyone who honestly achieved some significant result by growing something from a small seed to an above average tree has definitely been working hard in some way. there may appear a question of how long it took. but the illusion that for someone it was easier to become better at something is just your mind trying to calm you down and trying to avoid all the hard work.
that is the whole gift, miracle and the great secret of will.
how is this connected to me?
during these last three weeks i had forgotten everything i have just written down. that is how. i forgot that i am capable of making a decision. as a result there were moments when i failed to get out of the bed when it was necessary to do so. i avoided working out. my nutrition patterns decreased in quality. i gained a few kilograms back instead of shedding some additional fat just in order to run faster during the marathon race.
all in all i want to state that the self-discipline that looked so automatic and appearing by default during weeks 3 and 4 is far from being such. as soon as you close your eyes all the bad stuff comes back and starts running your mind again.
therefore it is necessary to do things with the same approach as during the very first day of the challenge. the same appears to be true even after 100 days. or even more.
these hard moments are as aforementioned hills: they never decrease in size. only we improve and as a result cope with them better.
i wish everyone a great and productive week.