I growled at the alarm on my phone, which seemed to be oblivious to my annoyance as it went on playing a cheerful tune. Not quite 5AM, I remembered that I had agreed to meet my personal trainer at 6AM this morning as I had a conflict at work so couldn't go at my usual time over lunch. The gym…or another hour of sleep…decisions decisions.
Have you ever had those moments? That moment when you are too exhausted, burnt out, hungry, or fill in the blank to give a shit anymore? Another hour of sleep sounds wonderful. That was a rhetorical question…of course you have! The only problem is that you know that you will regret it later, and it won't do much good anyway, you'll still have to get out of bed and be at work shortly anyway. Let me tell you a little story about my day which might help motivate you to make the right decision.
|Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash|
Go To The Gym or Stay In Bed?
Ahh, first world problems. To get up and go to the gym, or stay in bed this morning? No one is going to starve if I don't get moving, these are trivial problems to have in comparison to the issues others face in the world. But for me, early in the morning, still groggy from sleep, it was a big question.
|I'm Pretty Comfy Here: Photo by David Mao on Unsplash|
I thought back to something that my personal trainer had said which has helped keep me motivated to work out and do those things that I don't always want to do. Sometimes indulging yourself isn't about sleeping in late or going to the spa or treating yourself to a bubble bath. Sometimes it is about working hard so that you feel good about what you've accomplished. Often the hardest things you do right now in this moment are the best things you can do for yourself in the long run.
I shrugged off the covers, still a little groggy, and got up, the decision made.
A Beautiful Morning
|A Beautiful Morning: Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash|
The house was quiet at this time of the morning, a rarity with five kids. I enjoyed a meal in peaceful solitude, and took a quick shower and headed out. The crisp morning air felt invigorating, and I felt at peace. Arriving at the gym, I smiled as I greeted several people who had become friends over the last several months, and got down to business. A little sore but reenergized, I left the gym and once again stepped into the unexpectedly warm yet still crisp January air, and headed back home to begin my day.
One Percent Improvement Each Day Adds Up To Big Results
Missing an occasional day at the gym or an opportunity here and there isn't going to make or break you, but over time tiny little decisions like this add up big time. Look at this graph from “Start Today: What 1 Percent Change Looks Like” to get a picture of just how big of a difference that one extra percent effort each day makes in a single year. Keep in mind that this chart works for both good and bad decisions, small things add up in a big way over time.
|Start Today: What 1 Percent Change Looks Like|
Making the right choice which was a hard one to make for me this morning allowed me to have a great day. I know exactly what would have happened if I had slept in because I've done that before. I would have waited until the last possible moment to get out of bed then rushed around to get ready for work. If my children had done what children do I probably would have been grumpy rather than a little more relaxed since I had time to wake up first. I would have been beating myself up for not doing what I should have done. My day would have started with a little cloud over my head rather than starting out by getting my muscles warmed up and enjoying a little spare time before the hustle and bustle of the day caught up to me. If I had kept repeating that decision over and over, my health would have deteriorated quickly as past experience has proven. Instead, my health got a tiny bit better today from making the right decision…probably about 1% better.
What Will You Do?
What will you do when you are faced with a choice to do something a little hard now in return for a better reward later? Will you rise up and meet the challenge? Or will you go back to sleep and regret the decision later?
About the Author
Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, is the founder of this site, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.
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