Frankly over the past couple months I have been neglecting one of my own weekly “meetings” known as Strategy Wednesday. One thing after another, maybe a conference call, or more likely a case of getting too psyched about finishing a task on or before the self-imposed deadline for it caused Strategy Wednesday to fall by the wayside. This was not a good thing, but still I kept going saying, “ok ok ok ok ok next week, next week will be different…” while at the same time I kept piling up appointments and self-imposed deadlines.
This needed to stop. And last night, THURSDAY, well technically, very early Friday morning it did. I was doing laundry and during my favorite new “the laundry isn’t done yet, I’m going to climb things and practice stuff until I hear the buzzer” activities, I felt very compelled to return to some of my mobility and skill-based challenges. I also found myself wanting to practice a very fun Tai Chi sword form I had committed to memory many years ago.
The main realization was that my basic strength and conditioning training is now something I don’t really have to think about or “make” myself do. It’s like brushing my teeth, if brushing my teeth was extremely fun and challenging. I’ve made my strength and conditioning training into a fun game, and so it’s not been an issue for many years. But I thought about some of the other things which ARE still issues… the things I want to get better at, but am not training consistently. So at that advanced hour, I started playing around with creating a new mobility routine and organizing what I want to work on more consistently. Little things, no biggie. Little tiny bite-size things that when done on a daily basis might add up to a huge benefit.
21 days seemed a little overdone at this point, 30 days was too typical… I wanted to make a real commitment, so I chose 60 days. I asked myself, “What would happen if I did ___________, ______________, and ________________” even just a little bit, but on every day for 60 days! One of those fill-in-the-blanks was totally unrelated to fitness: do one page of the small chess problems in my (designed for elementary kids) chess tactics workbook every day. Yes, they’re easy, and that’s the point. So, I created a special 120-page workbook, with 2 pages for each of the next 60 days. One page is a chart with some oh-so-satisfying-to-check-off-as-completed boxes with the little things to work on, and the other page has my elementary chess problems. On the chart page there’s a spot to leave some notes and observations.
It took a while to make all the prints and copies at Kinko’s this afternoon, and then I had them spiral bind it with a clear plastic cover on the front and a plain black cover on the back. With all the printing, copying and spiral-binding, my total investment was about $20. The first page is a plain white piece of cardstock which I may write some things on as they come to me. I might not, but it’s up in the air.
There’s such a lack of commitment in our modern world, so much early giving up, and attention spans that are all but completely gone. So, this is my way of pushing back, and so far it has been a lot of fun! The key is that no day should have so much stuff on it that it is itself “stressful” and each day has a couple of small things to do that push me towards some of my very long term goals. 60 days is a long time, but it is also a short time in the scope of a lifetime. I’m very curious to see what happens!! If this ends up being a success, I will write up some ideas and guidelines for people who wish to try making their own little workbook. I am already thinking about my next 60 days and how I might choose problems from the Japanese game of Go for the strategy/problems portion. We’ll see!
If you haven’t had a chance this week, please check out these new articles from this past week on Dragon Door:
- Interview with World Cup Referee, Margaret Domka on how kettlebells have helped her stay as fit as the players so that she can stay right with them during a game AND make the right calls! 🙂
- Dan John’s super cool (so cool I had to buy one of the old 1960s books he talks about in it) article about very basic, but very useful training for sports and life.
- Marty Gallagher’s deep and fascinating article about zen moments in strength training. While he mentions elite lifters in the article, this experience is not limited to them. I’ve experienced it many times in non-competitive practice. This kind of lifting experience can be transformative in the mind as much as the body. When we exert our will during one of these simplified “just you and the weight, the rest of the world is on pause” moments, it sets a precident for successes we can have outside of the training environment.