Attention IV – Habits and the Objective

In February 2013, I decided to begin working with a personal trainer.

From 2007 up until this time, I had been steading improving and expanding my training regimen having completed my first marathon and my fourth triathlon. I made this decision to push myself to the next level of fitness, and I needed formal guidance to get there.

Over the next three years, I learned an incredible amount about strength training and was able to significantly improve my overall condition through consistent and dedicated effort. In early 2016, I was awarded “Most Improved.”

Then, in early 2017, I learned that my trainer was relocating. Coincidentally, it was around this time where the purpose of our working relationship was beginning to lose its meaning. After all, we had gone through similar routines for an extended timeframe, and I didn’t require any further instruction or guidance in its current form. I was also operating within a fairly consistent routine.

Fortunately, via this foundation, I was able to maintain, and even expand upon, our original routine and continue to do so today.

While I set out to take my fitness to “the next level,” I never really defined what “the next level” really looked like. I just knew instinctively that I was operating well beneath my potential.

I am thankful to have had the financial means and opportunity to work with an experienced athlete for so long, and while his expertise contributed a great deal to my success, I discovered that the sheer habit of meeting with him represented half the effort.

Ironically, when coming up with the idea for this post, I came across an article by Marcia Reynolds entitled “Stop Making New Goals, Create Habits Instead.”

When I stop to consider this experience, and aspects of the book “Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective” by Kenneth Stanley, I’ve learned you don’t need a specific “objective” to get started, but you do need to plan and repeat small shifts in behavior to experience positive, and lasting change, regardless of what the “change” entails.