Accounting for the weight of the "Books"
Things to consider when making a New Years resolution
“There is this famous architecture story about this architect who designed this library. It was perfect. But every year, it would sink a couple inches into the ground. Eventually the building was condemned. He forgot to account for the weight of the books.”
- Ted Mosby (How I Met Your Mother)
Dan John often says your goals should “spiral out” your life. Every aspect of work, rest, play, and pray (or personal reflection) should expand in balance. As any aspect increases, so should all other aspects of your life. Often times when we start a new exercise program or new diet, we let other aspects of our lives fall out of balance. We don’t account for the books. The “books” we forget to take into account are the side-effects of the program or diet that we don’t always realize until they happen.
Some questions to ask yourself:
Will it affect my performance at work/school?
Do I have the time to fully commit myself?
Can I afford it?
Will this pull me away from my family/loved ones?
Will this make me happy? At what cost?
In 2012 I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross. In summary, his lifestyle was killing him, and his solution was juicing diet (and no, not like Arnold). For 6 months, he had nothing but juiced fruits and vegetables, and his results were unbelievable. Obviously, I had to try it. Three days into my all juice diet, the “books” became quite obvious: I had no strength. 10 minutes into my usual routine in the gym, I was burnt out, I could barely move weight that had been a breeze the week before. If your goal is to get stronger, I highly suggest avoiding an all juice diet.
My senior year of college, I was the Strength and Conditioning coach for the Ute Women’s Lacrosse Team at the University of Utah. If you compared my program to a Division 1 Football program, or any professional sport, it would look like a warm up. The intensity is significantly lower on purpose. Why? My athletes have other responsibilities that cannot fall short as a result of my program. All of them were full-time students, most had jobs, and all of them had friends, family and loved ones. The amount of energy they had to use up on training was low, and to dedicate more of that energy to training would have been detrimental to important aspects of their lives.
The 3 rules I gave to my athletes:
I took the “books” into account. I understood what was going on outside of the weightroom. If I trained them to be phenomenal athletes, but caused them to flunk school, get fired from their jobs, and lose touch with their loved ones, I would have failed them as their coach.
Resolutions are important, and they shouldn’t be restricted to one time of the year. Working on ways to improve yourself should be a daily activity. I don’t want my advice to steer you away from making a resolution. I want you to account for the books because I want you to succeed. The books are what will cause you to give up 3 weeks in to your goal. Your resolution should be manageable, and simplified to the point that you understand every aspect of it. The more you can prepare for the books, the easier it will be to navigate the roadblocks that will inevitably come.
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