I want to be clear, I'm not saying that chocolate cake is bad, or that we shouldn't enjoy some of life's pleasures from time to time. I'm talking about when I'm faced with a decision that I clearly know will derail my progress, and my response is simply, "fuck it."
One day I hope to live up to the standards I set for the people I coach.
The truth is, I often ignore my own advice.
I succumb to my urges to eat things I shouldn't.
I stay up late scrolling through Twitter on my phone.
I miss scheduled workouts because I feel like I "deserve" a day off.
I have one too many glasses of wine, telling myself "this is what life is about!"--only to wake up the next morning riddled with guilt and wondering, "What the hell is wrong with me?"
For the most part, I know I do a good job with my training and nutrition. But it's that last 10% that drives me crazy. I would never tell anyone to strive for perfection, yet perfect is something that I secretly wish I could be.
I want to be a machine. Not just in what I do, but how I think and feel. I want to train hard, eat right, say my prayers every day, and love every goddamn minute of it. But the truth is I don't. I'm ashamed to say that every once in a while I've just had enough of being a responsible adult, and my selfish, lazy, short-sighted inner teenager comes out and ruins all of my plans for the day.
Then I wake up restored. Pissed off at myself for being so weak and undisciplined. The person you're trying to be wouldn't have done that, I hear myself saying. So then it's back to the grindstone, until the next inevitable slip up. Jesus, I sound like such an addict...
But maybe this is what it's like for most people. The constant see-saw between self-sabotage and forward progress that never seems to go away. Or maybe there are a few enlightened individuals out there who have cracked the code and blissfully do all the right things every day.
Either way, I clearly don't have things totally figured out. And it's incredibly frustrating.
I want to train hard, eat right, say my prayers every day, and love every goddamn minute of it.
It's weird being in the advice-giving business. I often speak with people who are looking to get back to regular training and reclaim their health, as well as athletes looking to increase their performance through nutrition and recovery.
I talk to them about what they should do, and how they should think about the process of change. While I get a tremendous sense of fulfillment in helping them, I can't help but feel a little hypocritical. These people are looking at me as the template. I'm the healthy, fit guy, who eats well and runs every day. I feel obligated to live up to that standard so I can counsel people from a place of authenticity.
And although I do believe in the advice I give, I feel guilty that I, too, struggle with the same issues they do. If they only knew that as I sat there gracing them with my wisdom, the chocolate cake from the night before was still digesting in my stomach.
I want to be clear, I'm not saying that chocolate cake is bad, or that we shouldn't enjoy some of life's pleasures from time to time. I'm talking about when I'm faced with a decision that I clearly know will derail my progress, and my response is simply, "fuck it." I just don't get why I do that.
While I do spend a little bit of time pouting about my imperfections, I know I've gotten better at taking it in stride and getting on with business. I know that those poor choices are less frequent and less severe than they used to be. When I look at my overall behavior from the past month, it's a huge improvement compared to a few years ago. That's a good thing that I'm proud of.
We're all imperfect, that's for sure. But I think it's our struggle with perfection that gives us meaning when we're finally able to move towards our goals. As they say, "the struggle is real."
If I've learned anything, it's this: discipline, willpower--whatever you want to call it--is a skill. No matter how much great advice you listen to, until you've felt the pain of screwing up, you're never actually going to hone the craft of making better decisions.