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One of Those Days

Be ready to get kicked in the face.... This is what i think every time i set a goal. But i am still often not ready. Recently I had a day that felt like a kick in the face. What’s weird is that it started out pretty well. I Slept ok, woke up normal, got some stuff done. But as the day progressed i found i got more and more tired, and less and less patient with my toddler. The day seemed to drag on forever and i just wanted it to end so i could go to sleep. I felt like a failure. I knew i was angry and had a bad attitude. I knew my wife needed support and a break from her long week with the kids, but instead it was me who needed to rely on her. I kept trying and trying but I couldn’t change my attitude. I just couldn’t dig myself out. I kept racking my brains for the reason, what was the cause? Was it that I didn’t workout because it was my rest day? That often makes me feel worse. Was it just cause we were exhausted from our newborn baby plus chasing a toddler around? Did i feel disconnected or alone? Was i overtraining? Under sleeping? Did i eat wrong? Damn. The more i thought about it the more stressed and confused i became. Finally the day slowly ended and i was hopeful that sleep and a new start would bring back my old self. My power. But of course my daughter decided that sleep was not on the agenda. She tossed and turned all night and made me walk her around and sleep with her on the couch. Kicked in the face.

If i take a large step back i understand that this was no tragic day. No one died, no one was even seriously hurt. In the grand scheme this was a good day. But life changing tragedies are not the only things that keep us from our goals. It is far more often the days that are seemingly easy from the outside, but internally just suck, that bring us down. These are the days that demoralize us and cause us to quit. These are the days that make us feel like we are doing too much and we should give up.

But what if we can reframe our perspective about these types of days. What if these are the days that count. Or rather the next day, is the day that really counts. Can you stay on the path even after those sucky “kick in the face” days?

"Pain is the wall"

I have a saying, “pain is the wall”, i probably stole it from Dwayne Johnson or someone, but i can't remember. I started saying it to myself when i was about to start a hard set in the gym. When i knew that my body was about to burn and i would want to quit 80% of the way through. “Pain is the wall”. The pain you are about to feel is the reason you are here. It is the thing that will get you to your goals, if you can endure it. If you can climb the wall, on the other side, is your achievement. If you keep your distance from the wall or avoid it altogether, then you will avoid pain, but you will never reach your goal. Most stay on this side of pain. Pain separates the masses from the few. Pain is the great disqualifier.

Now to be fair, I suppose that “discomfort” is a better word than “pain”. Any trainer would tell you that if you feel pain in the gym then you are likely doing something wrong, using improper form, and are at risk of injury. This is not what i am talking about. But “discomfort is the wall” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue in the same way. But you can swap the words out in your head if you like.

So when we have days that just feel like we must be doing everything wrong, remember that pain and discomfort are necessary signals that we are moving in the right direction. I am not saying you shouldn’t evaluate what you are doing. There might be room for course correction or some small tweak in habit and behavior. But remember that pain is why we came here. There is no achievement without the occasional day that feels like this. Don’t let it rattle you.

These sucky days remind us that not everyone can make this journey. Many will quit on days like today. They will call it “rest”. “Oh I had a bad day” or “Oh I didn’t sleep well so lemme take a rest day”. Well that day becomes two. Then three. You know where I’m going. It’s those days that kill New Year’s resolutions. Pain is the wall. Sucky days are to be expected and even welcomed. Because they are the hurdles that we must cross to get where we are trying to go.

So let’s go.

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