I remember 20 years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I had been living with my mom on the forgotten borough of hilly Staten Island, New York for 2 years after withdrawing from the pre-med program at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I could run 6 to 8 miles at 4am in the morning in under an hour, do my basketball workout for an hour immediately after, then get ready for work, and walk to the train station about a mile from where I lived on Seaview Avenue. I would do all of that get to my first job at KFC at 8am to prepare for the store opening at 10am.
Yes I know, I know, that sounds crazy, but what makes it even crazier is that when I got home at about 8PM after my long shift, I would do 1000 push ups and 1000 sit ups in under 1 hour and 15 minutes. Even as I am typing this, it sounds like an embellishment, but the truth is I didn’t get to that level of fitness all of a sudden. Yes, youth had so much to do with it, but it took me a full year of consistency and constantly pushing my limits to do a little more everyday to get to that level.
It took me about 4 months to go from walking 2 miles every morning to running 1 mile without stopping. I started with 20 push ups for 5 sets and the same for sit ups to get to 100 for both in under 40 minutes. Everyday, no matter how stressful it was or how tired I was, I kept waking up early and completely giving everything my body allowed me to give. Then when the workout became manageable, I would increase my run mileage by a half mile or a full mile and my callisthenic workout by 5 more reps per set. So my push ups/sit ups combo went from 20 to 25 after about a month and a half at a time. Progressively after waking up and repeating this for a full year, I reached my peak fitness as I mentioned in the beginning of this blog.
I had never had a six pack in my life until that point. No matter how many sports I played in school(Soccer, Track & Field, Basketball, Tennis). However, after that year I saw this physical version of myself for the first time that I was absolutely proud of but it came with even more advantages. I was never more mentally sharp. I started studying to return to school again and it was just much easier. I was able to focus more, make quicker, and more educated decisions. I was never more confident, centered, balanced, and present in everything I did.
I would have never met this version of myself if I didn’t make the commitment to get up everyday to give a little bit more to better myself. Of course this is written from a physical perspective but I benefited from so many different areas of my life. A few weeks ago I was driving in my car after a long disappointing day and instead of shutting down like I do for a short time, I told myself just to focus on getting better a little bit at a time everyday no matter how hard the day was.
I have followed through with that since then. I have renewed my approach to each day by not setting an expectation to be perfect but approaching each day with an open mind for growth when my mind, body, and spirit allows it. Now that I am older, I listen to my body, trust my instincts and maintain a discipline that is conducive to my lifestyle.
The question is how does that help you or how does this story benefit you? Other than learning a little bit about me there is so much you can take from this. At the age of 39 I am nowhere near the shape I was as a young 19 year old but it has always been a goal to get back there. It takes me longer to recover from a full day of working out. I do not have a six pack but with a few more months of discipline I see it coming back. I am not a mentally sharp as I once was but with each day I get closer. I cannot just eat anything I want but I am learning about what fuels me better to be more productive. Needless to say, I am not exactly at ground zero but I am excited because I get to go on that journey again to get back to that version of myself 20 years later.
If you have any goals that seem far away from where you are now, know that you do not have to achieve it in one day or even a week. Take that pressure off of yourself and just commit to doing a little bit everyday in the direction of the results you want. If it is to be physically fit, do a little everyday until you can push yourself to do more like I did above. Walk till you can run. If you want to be a better, more effective speaker then read more, and find opportunities to speak as much as possible. If your goal is to become a better cook then get familiar with your kitchen and start with some easier recipes till you can tackle the harder ones. If it is to learn how to dance, find a dance class or find dance ciphers where you can learn from or learn how you can work to get a little better everyday. Get up everyday with that mindset and I guarantee you will figure out how to accomplish anything you truly want for your life. That’s my message for this blog. If you do a little every day it has the potential of changing so much unexpectedly.