Something magical happens when you set foot in your gym: You’re there for you; to make yourself better. How often in our daily lives do we get to say that? In last week’s edition, I mentioned that doing something hard, something that requires failure in order to succeed, leads to satisfaction. This is one of Arthur Brooks’ macronutrients for happiness. Holding that idea in your head for a moment, my question for you is this:
How often do you challenge yourself to do something hard?
If you’re a member of Envision Fitness, there’s at least one answer! And, for those of you who are, you know some of my methods. How are clothes fitting? How is your energy level? Is your endurance improving? How about your strength?
What one metric I seldom ask you about? Your weight. Why? For one thing, it gives a very poor barometer of your actual health. But more importantly, weight gives a false expectation of what progress is. What is progress? That’s largely up to you. But in this week’s episode recommendation, Dr. Huberman says we should use more verbs, and less nouns — “I am running,” instead of “I am a runner.” Or, “I am progressing,” instead of, “I’ve succeeded, or I failed.”
I’m reminded of the wonderful Tim Urban quote, “Happiness is reality minus expectation.” Verbifying nouns means you are striving towards something. What Huberman calls, “The slope of the line.” As opposed to labelling yourself which is a binary state.
Here’s another idea — one that is entirely new to me, and that I want to try in my own workouts (and with this newsletter): Grading your workouts. In the podcast recommendation this week, Dr. Grant discusses three things that blend together extremely well:
- His background in competitive diving, and the method of keeping score (1-10pts). Importantly, he mentions his starting line was at a significant disadvantage, having not started diving until his teens.
- His views on potential: Getting a score of 10 is not the same as “perfect”. There is no such thing as perfect. Rather, a 10 is “excellence”.
- The “2nd score” philosophy, which ties into potential: “If I get a 3 on my 1st score, how can I improve? What can I do to get a 10?” (Remember, a 10 is not perfection.)
Using these different ideas, you can begin to score anything you’d like to improve about yourself, whether it’s a new skill, a creative project, or your health. I fully intend to update you on my own progress using this technique in future editions, and I’d love your help in keeping me accountable! Why score yourself this way?
If a 10 represents excellence, not perfection, it means the goalpost is constantly evolving — A 10 in high school diving is very different than a 10 in Olympic diving. Though I may be a professional personal trainer, there is still a vast amount of room for growth. My 10 now is very different than where I hope it is a year from now.
Moreover, I mentioned last week that writing this newsletter does 3 vital things for me:
- Gets me out of my comfort zone (big time).
- Provides me a wider aperture to help people outside of Envision Fitness.
- Allows me to overcome my perfectionist tendencies by becoming what Dr. Grant calls, an imperfectionist. If this edition is an 8, I hope I look back on it in a year and think, “Wow! My 8s really have evolved in a year!”
As you strive to better yourself, how can you set yourself up to succeed? Establish a means of tracking your progress that evolves with you. Many of you reading this want to be healthier — great! What are other ways you want to improve yourself?
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