Hey, it’s me again. Did you start yet? It has been 30 days since we last spoke. We went over how simple it can be to start caring for yourself. Now, if you are still in limbo, haven’t started, started and failed, or even if you started and things are not going as well as you expected, I will let you in on a little secret I learned when I was 19 years old.
Throughout my career as an athlete, I have had many coaches. One coach, in particular, stands out amongst the rest: Stu Krohn. Stu, whose nickname was Moose, was a mountain of a man. He was also the most impactful coach I have ever had. And if I had to distill Stu’s philosophy to sport (and life), it would be the importance of intention. Whatever you are doing, do it with a sense of purpose. Checking the box off is not enough.
Nearly two decades ago, I was a player on Stu’s rugby team. A lot was riding on the upcoming season because we had just bumped up in divisions; the previous year, we were in Division 2, and now being in Division 1, we would have to elevate our game.
At one of our training sessions leading up to the start of the season, Stu brought all the boys in and told us how we weren’t cutting it. He said we were just going through the motions during practice and that that wouldn’t be enough if we wanted to win. We were casually running through plays, not taking them as seriously as he wanted us to. If we wanted to win, we’d need to play our practices with the same intensity and focus we give to playing the game. Our team took his advice to heart. We stepped it up, and during the next two years — 2005 and 2006 — our Division 1 rugby team won back-to-back national championships.
This is where I learned to practice like I play, a philosophy I’ve carried with me in everything I do. The result of our success in those two years reflected how well we as a team bought into the intention of practicing with purpose during our training. This is no different than how you approach lifestyle changes — with purpose.
How can we apply this purposeful intention skill to non-athletic endeavors, such as living a healthy lifestyle?
If you are struggling to do this alone, I’d say don’t do it alone. Easy, right? The best bet would be to find a friend, coach, or gym with people who share a similar goal as yours. Then set up a schedule and stick to it. Consistency with sticking to the schedule is going to ensure success tenfold. We had rugby practice every Tuesday and Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. There were many nights I did not want to go, but I knew my team was there, so I showed up regardless of how I was feeling.
The best way to hold yourself accountable if you have trouble doing it yourself is to know that you are in it together with someone else. Remember — misery loves company.
Make sure you choose someone you can depend on or find a coach who has a reputation for being dependable. When you are doing what you said you would do, make sure you are mindfully present while doing it. The act of being mindfully present during those sessions is going to compound the return on your investment. It helps to turn your phone off.
Remember, you want to get better; if you are not present at the time you are performing, you are just going through the motions. It’s almost like, why even do it? spt