Apart from fitness, nothing seems to bring out the procrastination in people more than putting words on a page. At least, it’s very much the truth in my life. Writing procrastination haunts me like a viral infection that just won’t go away; it chases me when I sleep, when I eat, and when I spend time with my loved ones. And after discussing the issue with numerous other fitness writers, I’ve come to a realization that I am not alone.
Actually, I had a twitter conversation some time ago with a good friend of mine, Mark Young (who’s blog you should add to your RSS reader if you are not familiar with his work). We both eventually laughed at the blogging love-hate relationship.
The more you write the better it feels, because you know you’ve had an impact to a lot of people around you. The constructive feedback and the ability to actually reach a lot of people in the blink of an eye is, well, awesome.
The downside? Every loop we close tends to open up three new ones. It’s always an increasing number of ideas, plans and projects which require even more researching, even more writing, and even more editing. This leads to putting off, which leads to the feeling of “I should be working on it,” which leads to more procrastination and finally, more feeling like shit in general.
Not exactly what I want.
What strikes me the most is how the should-be-writing awareness hits me at the most inconvenient times – you know, when there is nothing I can do about it. Like a swarm of Mosquitos in my head – they’re buzzing around loudly, but I can’t seem to smash any of them. And when I actually do have the opportunity to write, I just can’t seem to get started.
Does my frustration with writing sound a lot like the fitness goals you’ve been trying to achieve but just can’t manage to do so?
Information = Procrastination
I constantly make efforts to improve every aspect of my living being. But how does one improve a skill or becomes more knowledgeable?
Logic says it’s by getting more facts, analysing information, reading books, articles, science, get another aspect, another point of view. This is a never ending list and they are not necessary bad things, but they are for someone who is already producing stuff.
Not the procrastinator.
But we’re missing the critical point here – the massive amount of information out there, accessible for each individual in the modern age, is part of the reason for procrastination, not the solution.
The more information you have about the topic the more of it you think you need to do a decent job and the harder it is to actually get started.
And as you drain your rational cognitive capacities and rely more heavily on emotional thinking – fast and intensive positive feedback will come easier than working on projects with a distant deadline.
It’s programmed in our DNA and used to be an evolutionary necessity for our survival as a species.
In the modern world however instant gratification does not come from postponing mating for running away from the threatening lion. It comes from checking your Facebook account, watching another episode or Dr. House, or just playing another game of solitaire.
There is always New Year’s Eve to start, right?
No wonder many successful writers have a writing laptop with nothing but writing software installed, or remove the internet connection in their homes.
Be Stupid = Look Better
So to eliminate my procrastination when it came to writing, I came up with a plan: I decided to actually write.
Big shocker, I know!
I wrote whatever the hell I wanted. It didn’t matter as long as words were being produced on the page.
Sounds stupid, right?
Well it is, and it isn’t. When you take a very simplistic approach towards solving a problem such as this, you realize that taking the right action (in this case, writing) is the only way to get anything on paper and eventually end up with the result you wanted – a solid article for eager readers.
The first draft will probably be of secondary quality, not very well researched and not exactly what I wanted, being the perfectionist that I am.
But it will be on paper (well, on your screen to be more precise), and I know it will improve over time.
I can research, evaluate, think, brainstorm and draft out whatever I want but unless I actually put anything on paper, I won’t be able to influence the lives of thousands.
Which sucks, because influencing lives is what I’m all about.
I won’t lie, at time it feels hard and as if I’m just wasting my time. Other times I’m unmotivated and can’t think of a single word. But, if I can get my notepad and start scribbling, then it doesn’t matter because at least I’m producing something.
Which as we all know, is better than nothing.
Wana guess how I started writing this piece? I was watching another boring episode of CSI Miami (yes, I was procrastinating), and during the five minute commercial break, I pulled my iPad out and started jotting things down.
I didn’t know what I was writing, who the audience would be or if anyone would read it at all. I just knew that I needed to write, period. And I figured that a nice place to start would be the frustration I was lately having with procrastination.
If you’re an aspiring writer or fitness blogger then trust me, begin with just get something on paper, anything.
“Ok Doc, So How Does This Relate To Fitness, Exactly?”
Without any hard numbers at hand, I’d say fitness and fat loss it’s the number one reason for procrastination in the western society. I find the similarity to my writing procrastination habit striking.
- You can twist your program all day.
- You can set goals.
- You can think about supplements, reflect over potency of strength training on the natural body, research squatting styles, speed or different modalities of strength/hypertrophy/agility/cardiovascular training.
- You can discuss the role of cinnamon on the mTor pathway, potential side effects of creatine, whey, gluten or non-organic non-grass fed beef.
You might become a hell of a debater with thousands of arguments and data to pull out of your pocket when sitting at 3 am on your favorite training forum.
But did you actually take a single action step towards getting closer to you goal?
The over analysis only leaves you standing on the same spot. And it probably affects you the same way my non-writing does. You might have spent 1 day or 10 years of your life standing on the same place, extremely educated but confused and neurotic.
However, you did not take one single physical action to improve.
If you tend to procrastinate in a particular area, you need less information in order to start, not more. Stop thinking and just start doing – you’ll learn the right way eventually, and will also have a shit load of experience under your belt.
When it comes to fitness, let’s get real simple: sometimes, you just need to shut the fuck up and lift something heavy. Don’t stress over it, don’t think about it, just get it done.
The tendency to start doing before knowing everything is, I believe, the difference between the ones that are successful and well, the rest.
There is one fact I know for sure – effort and consistency brings results, every god damn time. All else is secondary.
I feel blessed for actually liking to work out. I do get my lift in, even If I feel like crap. When I’m consistently taking action, that’s when I research to improve my game.
I never procrastinate when it comes to training.
Writing obviously does not work the same way for me. That’s why I stay more idiotic about it for now – at least I’m producing something. And to be honest, judging by the traffic on my site and the response from you guys lately, you seem to like the ‘New’ me!
I don’t give a shit if your program is idiotic, your nutrition principles are crap and your supplements are burning a hole in your wallet. Follow your crappy ass program, put an honest effort in, and you will get results better 95% of fitness enthusiasts who hop from program to program on a weekly basis, while citing the latest abstract from The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
And what if you can’t write a program because you just don’t know where to start?
Pay someone to do it for you.
It’s truly a smart investment to let somebody else do all the thinking for you, and leave you with nothing but the doing part. It eases stress and can feel very liberating – this is why even the best trainers and bodybuilders hire other trainers and coaches to create plans for them.
It’s not that they are lacking in knowledge, if at all, it’s just that planning out something for 12 or 16 weeks is mentally exhausting.
That energy can be much more efficiently utilized for doing.
Starting Is Like Swimming
Getting started is not like swimming the first meter of a 200 meter race in an ice cold pool.
Getting started is jumping into the water.
Don’t stand on the edge of your ultimate fitness potential and analyse every single aspect of the 200 meters you are about to swim, twisting every argument around fivefold. Dive head on into the cold water and take the first stroke as fast as possible.
Because the longer you wait on the edge the colder the water seems. Once you are in there, swimming does not seem like such a big deal.
So are you a fitness procrastinator? Do have troubles getting started? Here’s my open and completely free invitation to take action.
Allow yourself to be idiotic, got to the gym and have some fun.
Put your favorite music on, drink a nice warm cup of coffee and just go lift something. Just like the eager swimmer, at least you’ll already be in the cold water.
The rest will come.
Look at this giant beast of an article that I came up with, just by writing on an empty note app during a 5 minute CSI commercial. Crazy isn’t it?
So do yourself a favor and scroll down below to join the Lift-Heavy VIP list – this way, you can always get relevant information and motivating up to date content from me.
Then I want you to close this window and get started.
Here’s to doing.
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