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Sweat the small stuff

Big changes are usually necessary whether you’re trying to become functional again, or looking to reach a new level of happiness, success, or fitness.

It’s inspiring and cinematic to take on extreme diets or exercise regimes, and again, probably necessary in most cases to move forward. These are big shifts in behavior and commitment that we all rightly commend on social media and in our own lives.

Personally, taking up boxing was one of the “big” things that helped me get to a new level. As difficult as it was in the beginning, it eventually became the core of a whole new lifestyle.

But what we often overlook is the impact of “small” stuff on improving our lives.

In any coaching I do, and in my own life, I place a great deal of emphasis on attention to detail, organization, and on using smaller goals, tasks, etc to build confidence and support larger goals and aspirations. 

Lack of attention to detail and organization can bite people in very simple ways. A part of us is always resistant to change (especially if it’s something new or difficult) and loves to make excuses, and it’s crucial to provide that part of you with as little firepower as possible.

Using the example of someone trying to fix their diet, something as simple as failing to maintain a detailed shopping list could sink the whole ship, as silly as it sounds. Forgetting a single item, can have a ripple effect. You go to make your new healthy dinner, and realize you’re missing something. You’re already late eating, and you’re too tired to go back to the store, so you order pizza. Later that night, rationalizing that this day is already a write off in terms of diet, you eat some ice cream before bed. Then you wake up the next day and feel so shitty from all the bad food you ate, you skip the workout you had planned. And by the next night, your confidence is shot because you’ve been skipping workouts and eating ice cream.

All from not writing a shopping list down.

Or think about cumulative effects of small actions. In terms of getting in shape, yes, it’s a great idea to take up something like boxing or crossfit or whatever, but think of the small gains that are all around you. Walk to every possible location you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do a few pushups anytime you can, even if it’s only 5 or 10 a day. I used to have a door frame pull up bar, and every time I walked by it I would do one or two. Think of how much time and burned calories little things can add up to in a year.

Little details can have a “butterfly effect” and trip up much bigger tasks and goals. And small actions give you confidence and build up to big ones. Today’s walk to the store is tomorrow’s marathon. Like the great pyramids, small mistakes at the bottom can doom the overall structure, but attention to detail and “sweating the small stuff” at the lowest levels will create something of incredible strength, beauty and endurance.

-GC

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