It’s not just a word of the day.
It’s the word of my life. At least this stage of my life – my Iron Age.
The greatest epoch of my life.
Fitness is the foundation that my ability to thrive is built upon. And through trial and error, and years of experimentation, I have found a core philosophy that keeps me going. And thriving.
It’s based on the belief that 100% is easy.
It’s based on taking that belief and turning it into action – which is my 3 Things Every Day habit stacking platform.
And finally, it’s based on connecting with others – creating a community of men and women who want to share their journey through this Iron Age – and more importantly – help each other to thrive by staying on the path and being accountable.
100% is Easy
Not a new concept, but absolutely transformative in that it takes all the debate, decision-making, worry and angst out of your commitments. Because 100% means you do them every day. No matter what.
It is … the law. The way. The path. Whatever you want to call it.
This is the mindset that I have used over the last 5+ years to exercise every day for 1,864 days in a row (and counting).
What makes it “easy” as opposed to trying to exercise 5 days a week, is I don’t have to decide which days. I don’t have to debate whether or not I feel like it. I don’t have to watch the weather and switch days because it’s raining.
All that noise just goes away. You take those minds games out of the equation!
I exercise every day. No matter what.
I don’t worry about the weather. I don’t worry about how I feel. I don’t worry if I’m traveling. I don’t worry.
I don’t have to fight it.
I just exercise.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been days where I’m slogging on the treadmill with a barf bucket in my hands. It doesn’t mean there haven’t been days where I’m up at 4:00am running because of travel. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been days where I’m doing push-ups, sit-ups and chair dips in my hotel room because there is no fitness center.
It doesn’t mean there haven’t been days where I head down to the home gym and just lay on the floor for 15 minutes wondering why I do this.
What it does mean is that after that 15 minute pity party, I stand up and just start moving. Then, 90 minutes later, you close the books on another solid workout.
What it does mean is that yes, discipline will set you free.
Consistency and habit will set you free.
Because I believe in my heart that 100% is easy.
3 Things Every Day
Taking that belief, that 100% is easy, and turning it into action is the next step.
To this end, I have developed a habit stacking platform called “3 Things Every Day” which is the centerpiece to a lifestyle of discipline and getting things done.
Here’s how it works.
You start with one main commitment or action that you want to do every day. This is the most important thing you want to focus on for the next 3 months. For me, it’s exercise. I will exercise every day for the next 3 months (more on the 3 month commitment later).
For you it could be something else. Maybe you want to be more specific. Maybe it’s running every day. Or yoga. Or walking. Anything.
Just give this some serious thought. Make sure it is the #1 activity or action you want to commit to.
Next, pick a secondary commitment, which is a little smaller than your first one, but connected to it in some way. For me it’s eating a healthy lunch – usually a protein-rich salad.
For you, if you want to run every day as your main activity, maybe you decide to stretch for 30 minutes each evening. Maybe it’s going to bed each night by 10:00pm for better sleep and recovery. Maybe it’s fasting.
Whatever you choose, try to have synergy between the two. It’ll make it easier to stick to, and give compounding results – and like the running and stretching combo – they could even be done back to back for even easier completion.
Finally, for number 3, pick something small – that over the course of the 3 month commitment, could have a real impact.
For me it’s journaling. I complete one page in my journal each morning. I use it to reflect on the past few days and the events in them, I use it to set up the day and how I want to show up, and I also use it for positive self-talk. One page a day … takes less than 15 minutes, and it has had a huge impact in my life. It has become a ritual of importance for me. And I couldn’t imaging starting the day without it now.
For you, it could be anything. Reading for 15 minutes. Learning a new language. Washing the dishes each evening so the sink is clean at the start of the day. Anything really. Meditation, flossing, blogging….
You will be surprised how this one small, final commitment can be so impactful.
Take your time choosing these things. Give it some real thought. Make sure you are choosing these activities for the right reasons.
Because for them to be truly impactful, you need to commit to them for at least months.
Why the 3 month commitment?
Lot’s of reasons.
The first is that it simply gives you time to have them be impactful. It gives you time to have them become part of your lifestyle …. part of your identity, if you so choose.
Consistency over time is the secret sauce.
Running every day for a month is cool. Run every day for 3 months is habit forming. Run every day a year – and you’ll be a different person.
It also gives you the time and consistency to get real results. Many of us start and stop so many times during the year, we end up with a series of false progressions – where you end up in the same place after each restart. If you commit to doing these things every day for at least 3 months, you will end up in a very different place. You will end up with real progress.
What I like about my exercise streak is that I embody “semper paratus” – meaning I am “always ready.” If my buddies want to run a 1/2 marathon, I’m in. If they want to complete the Murph on Memorial Day, I’m in. If they want to enter a Spartan Race, I’m in. With a focus on weight training and running – I feel I am ready for anything.
And if I really want to get race ready, I’m only a few weeks off. I just kick it up a notch for a bit, and I’m ready to blast a good 5k. Semper paratus!
Other reasons for the 3 month commitment tie to concepts I’ve picked up from experts in the fields of fitness, psychology and other fields.
Angela Duckworth describes that people who have “Grit” display passion + perseverance … or consistency over time. You can read more about Angela’s concept in her book “Grit” – https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-book/
George Leonard writes about “mastery” being all about practice and process – and how this is one way to achieve real, lasting progress – where you reach new plateaus time and time again. You can read more about George’s concept in his book “Mastery” – https://www.amazon.com/Mastery-Keys-Success-Long-Term-Fulfillment/dp/0452267560
Other authors describe how process driven people always outperform outcome driven people, because the process driven people focus on the day to day work – which naturally leads to the outcomes desired. The outcome driven people fail, because they lack the process and habits needed for success (they cherish the outcome more than the journey and the discipline of practice).
If you win the day, day in and day out … over time you will thrive.
Without my tribe of #nodaysoff fitness fanatics, I don’t think my streak of exercise days would have made it this far.
Doing hard things with others, with a team, with a tribe of committed people is so much easer than going alone. I think anyone who has played team sports can attest to that.
But it’s more than that.
The accountability factor has upped the ante. It has made it almost impossible to quit. Impossible to fail. Our #nodaysoff team texts our workouts to the group each day. Some of the core members have been doing this since day one, with a number of us past the 5 year mark.
We set the expectation – and we hold each other to it. Surround yourself with a circle of people who expect the best from you (and you of them) and the outcomes might be more than you can even imagine.
As we get into our Iron Age, these groups and communities become critical to our health and and wellness because our circles of friends, colleagues and other social circles tend to shrink or disappear altogether over the years.
Many studies conclude that social connectedness is one of the keys to healthy aging. Our mental and emotional health needs to be part of our fitness plan, and we can not thrive unless we have those ongoing social bonds that form more naturally and easily when we are younger.
So having a tribe, a community of fitness fanatics to share our journey with is just as important as the work we are doing to stay fit in the first place.
My purpose in life is to thrive and to help others thrive (in all areas of their lives).
My thriving starts with fitness and spreads out from there. When I am fit – I feel I can do anything and be anything – as if I have no limits. When I am feeling lean, clean and clear my confidence is high, I am calm and purposeful, and I can move my passions forward with enthusiasm.
I am positive and forward thinking.
In my Iron Age, that is a magical place to be.
I created the Iron Age AthleticsTM brand to be for and about a “pride that thrives” – and the fitness foundations I have laid out here have worked for me and I know they will work for you as well.
As we enter and journey through the 50+ age bracket, I believe this can be the greatest epoch of our lives. If we stay positive, continue to look forward, stay fitness-minded, and stay connected – we can and will thrive.