As recent as 3 months back waking up in the morning was a tiresome and undesirable task for me. Adding to the fact that my project was going on for 11-13 hours a day and always ended after 10.30 pm. Building a early morning routine though desirable was a far fetched dream for me. Then I would usually wake up at around 8 and try going for a run hardly completing 2-3 km that too sporadically. My weekly target in the beginning was just 7 km and even that I failed at multiple times. We know ourselves best and should set targets accordingly, for me doing more that targeted is completely normal but doing even 1% less that what I decide is devastating. It leads to endless overthinking loop of “Im not good enough, I lack self discipline, Im too lazy and so on”.
One fine day taking cue from the book Atomic Habits where one guy drew out an actually legally binding contract for this morning fitness routine for an year. It had specific targets timelines and penalties and was properly signed by multiple parties. Goes without saying he reaped the benefits for following his voluntary regime. I didn’t want to go overboard with it so I came up with a simple solution of putting penalties on missed Kms (distance of 7 km per week being bare minimum) and missed number of days(I had to go at least 4 days a week). The penalties were strong enough to feel undesirable and not so high that I loose entire salary on that. Still old habits die hard and I kept missing for multiple weeks so much so that the penalties were just adding up. I had confided in a friend(who was my accountability partner for this set up) that I will be paying you the money for not exercising or running as per this arrangement. If I gave it to family I’d would not feel bad at all so it had to be an outsider.
After about 5 weeks when the penalty became around 7-8% of my salary(hence no longer small amount) I kept dodging the matter thinking :
“Why should I pay him anything, its not like he is training me or regularly motivating me”.
“Why do I even have to tell him that I missed, I can just save face and say nothing”.
“Why the hell did i even decide this, was it a stupid idea?” and many more whys.
In the end integrity won and I paid him still not knowing how much more I’ll have to pay but something changed after that day. Not sure why but I became far more regular and to this day (it has been around 2.5 months) I have exceeded all my targets. Now my target is 100 km per month and in march along I ran for 164km.
While running one day a woman stopped me and enquired ,” you run everyday it seems , are you preparing for something, is there a reason?”.
Though I run just for fitness and health I told her I am preparing for a marathon(which I do plan on running but that is just one small part of it).
She was happy and sort of inspired she gave me best wishes.
Another day one girl in early twenties slightly plump waved me to stop,” How long did you start, does it help in reducing weight?, Were you able to go this long in the beginning as well?”
I said its for 2 years(technically I took many procrastination breaks in past 2 years) and told her in the beginning I wasn’t able to finish even 1 km and that she just needs consistency. After that I saw her a few times breaking sweat.
I was very happy that I gave some hope to someone and didn’t even realize that while I was pushing myself it was also contributing so someone else’s morale in however small manner that may be. I felt blessed.
This was the only point of the story , while pushing ourselves and fighting lazy or procrastination demons we tend to develop this shell that I am along in my struggle but that is not so. There is a whole wise world of people some of whom may help us in going forward and some we may be able to help. One must never stop pushing the limits regardless of what we think we have accomplished.
Jai shree Hari.