Tag: PaytheMan

Which Path Is Right?

I’ve been on a bit of a health transformation. I finally hit a point where I said to myself, enough is enough. So I’ve been focused, made some good changes, and feel better. It started by following some inspiring people. I had literally spent a week of watching motivational videos (while eating chips) and I thought, stop being such a poser and get your ass up and start doing something.

There are a number of influencers that got me going, but the two main ones are Jocko Willink and David Goggins. Jocko is famous for “Discipline equals freedom”. He gets up at 0430 every day and works out, posting it on Instagram. The more discipline you have in getting all the everyday mundane things done, the more freedom you’ll earn in the rest of your day and life.

David Goggins is a great story. Unmotivated. 300 lbs. Decided he wanted to be a navy seal, lost 100 lbs. in 3 months. Went on to have a great career and do some ridiculously challenging stuff. He’s got lots of good pep talks around things like staring at his shoes for 30 minutes trying to get motivated enough to go for a run. I can relate. Anything is achievable if you want it bad enough.

I love that stuff. Lately I’ve been up at 0400 most mornings getting my workout in. Posting it on the IG for accountability. Strict with my diet. Feeling like life is too short to waste it sleeping in and not getting shit done.

And then I saw a quote the other day that stopped me in my tracks. Paraphrasing – “None of us are getting out of here alive… eat the delicious food, walk in the sunshine, jump in the ocean… there’s no time for anything else”.

It’s true. All this may end tomorrow. Laying on my deathbed what will I relish more – that I was disciplined and got my tired ass up at 0400 every day, or that I enjoyed good food, a cigar, and a some adult beverages? I know it’s silly but that simple quote made me wonder what, at my age, am I doing skipping meals, eating strictly, and being so sore from workouts I can barely walk? Will I really be happier five years from now?

Which path is the right path?

Like anything, balance is probably the right choice. I recognize that if I swing too far to the indulgent side it carries consequences. I won’t be able to enjoy the outdoor activities I like. I’ll probably throw a clot and become a vegetable, cutting years off my life. On the other hand, I don’t want to miss out on nachos. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow am I really going to care that I was ten or twenty pounds too heavy?

I don’t know the answer. At the moment, I have a goal and I’m going to work my ass off to get there. Once there… I think I’ll make a point of ensuring I indulge from time to time. Because it’s true – none of us are getting out of here alive.

Rock Bottom

I am not a mental health professional, nor do I play one on TV. But I am a reasonable observer of human behavior. Since my work days are spent at a hospital I get to see a wide spectrum of the human condition. And in watching both my own behavior and the rest of the zoo around us, I’ve come to a conclusion. To make a change you have to hit rock bottom.

This applies to weight loss, exercise, alcohol and drug use, any sort of destructive behavior. To make a real change you first have to hit whatever your rock bottom is.

For some people rock bottom is finding out their favorite jeans are a little too tight. Others, it’s hitting 400 pounds and being unable to participate in life. One guy may make a drunken fool of himself at a party and decide that’s it. For another it may take being in the hospital detoxing and full blown DT’s.

The unfortunate truth about this is that the lower and further down rock bottom is… the harder it is to climb out. It can be done but the success rate gets exponentially smaller.

So what can you do about it? I’m certainly no expert, but I think that constant self-inventory is vital. Be brutal. Look at yourself naked in the mirror. Get on the scale daily. Can you do a single pushup? How many bottles of alcohol are you going through in a week? Don’t hide from it. Hopefully at some point you’ll decide that today is the day to make a change.

I’m sure plenty of real experts can offer better approaches. All I know is what I’ve seen and experienced myself. Until you hit bottom… and then go a little bit further down, you’re not going to make a change. Forcing a constant inventory may not be the best approach, but it can’t hurt. Easier said than done, I know.

The sooner you come to grips with your reality, the better your chance of success. Go watch some motivational weight loss stories on YouTube. Watch a video of someone going through DT’s. Right now, can you run up and down a flight of stairs without gasping for air? Are you truly happy with your current state?

Maybe today will be your rock bottom.

I Failed. And I’m Ok With It.

Last year I signed up for a race. 100 miles of gravel with some pretty significant climbs. I kinda sorta trained for it, but not like I should have. For my last training ride I rode about half the course. I realized that, while I think I could have finished, it would have been a complete suffer-fest. As race day got closer I agonized over what to do. Finally with my tail between my legs, I bailed. Forfeited the sizable entry fee. No t-shirt, belt buckle, no swag, no bragging rights.

Since then I’ve been getting frequent emails to sign up for this years race. I just got a new email offering a training camp ($$) to help ensure success. I also got notification to enter the lottery for another race that’s always been on my list, the Leadville 100. I’ve agonized over these – wanting to avenge my failure, to prove that I can do it. I’ve gotten my credit card out multiple times, ready to sign up.

What I’ve realized lately is that much of that is about my own personal vanity. The only reason I’m doing it is so I can post on the Facebook and Instagram, giving some self-deprecating comment but secretly wanting all the likes and congrats from the community. But you know what? I’m 53. I don’t give a rats ass any more what people think.

I’m going to keep training hard, riding my bike, running, and being active because I enjoy it – not because I’m trying to prove something. I don’t need a race t-shirt to validate my self worth.

I’m not knocking doing races. If you’ve never run a 10k or a marathon and you need to sign up to have a hard goal to work towards, that’s awesome. Do it! If you’re competitive and actually in the mix racing (as opposed to just trying to finish) then keep after it. I’m not either of those things and I’m ok with that.

I’m still going to work hard. We all have some level of vanity and competitiveness that doesn’t go away. My goal is to be that old guy that passes you on the climb on our local trails. And someday, if I get really crazy in shape and think I can be competitive for my age class… I’ll toe the line again.

But then again, I like beer too much.

Paying the Man

This is my new favorite saying. I blatantly stole it from Josh Bridges. Go look him up – he’s an impressive dude. The saying is a perfect encapsulation of how the world works. Nothing is free. If you want something, be prepared to work for it.

In Josh’s world it’s physical performance, but it applies to everything. Want to lose weight? You’re going to have to pay the man. Restrict calories, follow an appropriate diet, and work out. Don’t want to do that? So sorry, isn’t going to happen. Want to excel at work? Pay the man. Long hours, bust your butt, outwork your coworkers. Want to be a successful entrepreneur, artist, student? Pay the man.

I’ve started saying it to myself when I think about doing something. How bad do I want it? Am I willing to pay the man? Sometimes the answer is no, and that’s ok. I find it helpful to clarify in my head what I really want vs. what might be nice. I’d like to learn Spanish, be a better cook, and be better at my job… but right now I’m not willing to pay the man and I’m good with that.

It doesn’t mean you don’t do those things. It just means I’m satisfied with the current state. Being a better cook would be nice, but it’s not important enough to me right now to invest in reading, watching videos, buying supplies, and practicing.

It’s a simple phrase. Start applying it everyday and you’ll find it clarifies your thoughts and actions. Focus your energies on only those things you’re willing to pay the man for and you’ll be happier and more focused.