It’s a new month of a new year. The changing of the lunar calendar can bring pain though. For me, that pain is inconvenience to my workout routine. Whenever i go to the gym in January, the line for EVERYTHING doubles. People with new year’s resolutions are packed in, trying to start this one off on a new foot forward. They’ve flooded my terrain. Fortunately, like clockwork every year, February hits and all these new faces are gone. Pleased that my wait for the treadmill is no more, I can’t help but have a heavy heart at the death of these new ambitions. What went wrong?
Being a bit of a behavioral science buff, I’ve put quite a bit of thought into these issues. In the case of the abandoned dreams of gym-rats never to be, I think it’s a case of too much too soon. People don’t go from overweight lothario to Usain Bolt overnight. These people are trying to change their diet, start a 6 day a week gym regime, and quit smoking all at once. I know happens next as I’ve been there. In changing everything, the mind and body cannot keep straight with such a massive disruption. Frustration kicks in, an overwhelming feeling casts its ugly shadow, and the mind decides to ditch the new January workout. The newcomers leave the gym, and the treadmill is once again mine.
Change only lasts when it is incremental. One behavior at a time, repeated over and over again, until that behavior is mastered, then onto the next one. It took everything I had and all my focus to quit smoking. Then, once purged of that behavior, I turned my eyes to dieting. As the weight started to come off, and my energy began to build, I then went on to run greater and greater distances. I got a GPS watch, I bought those new running shoes, and next thing you know I’m signing up for a marathon. It is a one step at a time gradual process. So why would one’s dating life be any different? A virgin doesn’t date Victoria’s Secret model solely because they decided that’s their New Year’s resolution (unless that person happens to be an NBA All Star, in which case they can/should stop reading here). new year resolution. It’s all about managing one’s work load, and today I share with you one of my favorite tactics to tackling any insurmountable task. The simple concept of “Just do one”.
The first task is to identify what the “one” is. Take any grand goal, and think what is the most attainable, simple, singular step towards that goal. For running, it is lacing up those shoes and stepping out the door, period. No distance, no pace, nothing. Just getting outside. So for meeting women, it’s as simple as going out, using one opening line with intent to one girl you’re attracted to. The idea is by doing it once daily, we can build consistency, and with consistency endurance always follows. Everything builds from there. We also avoid the perils of too much too soon.
I would love for every man to make his way out and approach 10 women every time he’s out to mingle, as it creates the best odds meeting someone to which a romantic encounter will follow. A 10-timer we call it in the biz. One problem though: it’s fucking tough for 99% of men to approach that rigorously. It can be overwhelming, so overwhelming that a man may not go out at all due to its daunting nature. Same with the diet/working/quitting smoking instant overhaul. Our minds can’t handle the overload – the most logical thing to do is quit. Self-improvement is the accumulation of thousands of tiny changes executed ad nauseum until mastered. Let us be kind to ourselves, and only focus on one small thing at a time. Baby steps
By attempting just one, we set ourselves up for when that moment our mind’s try to quit on our bodies. The brain is a remarkably creative engine, so creative it will come up with a million excuses as to why we should abandon ship when the going gets tough. Too many goals with too many steps triggers this reaction. We defeat those million little voices with 1 singularly focused goal. For running, just run that one block. For dating, just that one girl. Get that down, and now we make the goal 3 girls. After three, maybe it’s time to ask for a phone number. It’s a process that never ends, as is the case for all skills we desire to master. What’s the one thing all these diverse array of skills have in common? They all start with just one step.