The hard thing about simple things

Ever remember telling yourself, “that’s simple… all I need to do is…”. Do you? And you know what happened next? Or perhaps a few weeks back? You fell off the wagon. Right? If you didn’t, hats off to you! I, for one, have been on and off the wagon a thousand times. Or perhaps even more.

In fact, I would even say that’s pretty much the theme of my life. I somehow figure out a way to get myself knocked down only to crawl my way back to where I should be. But as I’ve gotten wiser, I’ve come to realize that my life doesn’t really need all that drama. Just a little thought on how well I prioritize what’s the most simple and obvious and stick to it no matter what.

Does it work? Hell, yeah! When I stick to the commitments I make to myself. But I’m too lazy and ignorant to take myself seriously. At least sometimes, if not all the time. And the fix is pretty straightforward — EAT THE FROG. It can mean two things:

  1. Do the hardest thing you can imagine first and the rest will be easy; or (and here’s my version…)
  2. Do that “simplest” thing first. The one that you know for sure is good for you but aren’t able to commit because you’ve got other stuff to take care of or have better things to do.

I’m pretty sure you can relate to #2 there. I definitely can. Writing and training in the evening are two great examples. I love to write but have a boatload of stuff to tear through the day before I can get to my “personal stuff.” Because writing, to me, is a personal activity. Something that I do for myself. Of course, it’s going to take the backseat considering the fires I have to put out during the day.

Makes sense?

I had a similar experience with training in the evening. I had all the best intentions to train hard and get shredded (I was in my 20s and naive) after spending more than 10 hours at work. I tried for a couple of days before calling it quits. Thankfully, better sense prevailed and I started to train in the mornings and opted for a starting strength-style program that got me hooked forever!

Ideally, I should be writing in the wee hours of the morning but I prefer to read because that’s more important (and it is). How’s it helping? It isn’t. Writing in the evenings is hard because my brain’s fried and creativity is at its lowest. Particularly after my kettlebell training (my second wind workout, it’s a game-changing concept, that I do right after wrapping up work). I just don’t have the energy to think but rather want to immerse myself in something meaningful — a book or perhaps a documentary. (But right then I’m reminded of my commitment to show up… and I do, like right now.)

And that’s what is so hard about these simple things. You know exactly what you should be doing but don’t because you’ve got better things to do. The solution is pretty simple — your most important things come first. Everything else needs to wait.

I know it’s easier said than done. But then, making the right choice is the only way to get anything done. What will you choose?

P.S. In hindsight, I’m really talking about the hard things here (writing and training definitely aren’t easy for everyone, not even me!).

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