Consistency is key.

“We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit” – Some book. Read by some guy on YouTube.

In order to do things, to live life to the full, to move forward. We need to do just that, move forward. Little by little, day by day. “We are what we do.”, “Repeatedly.”, these are some of the simplest and most thought-provoking words I have ever read.

Whatever you want to do with your life. Break down the biggest part of it into little, habit-like tasks that you can do daily. Here are some that I am currently doing.

Learn Norwegian – 1 or 2 Duolingo lessons per day.

Run like a champ – Aside from my cycling and weight training every now and then, I run pretty much every day. Even if it is just one kilometer.

Read more books – A couple of pages each day, either in the morning or just before bed.

Learn to Code – I aim to do a couple of lessons per day with FreeCodeCamp (working my way towards becoming a Frontend Developer).

Blog more – aside from this last four weeks I usually aim to push out a blog at least once a week, why? I want to practice writing, sharing and communicating and you should too! Start your blog today.

Design – this one is a new one. I plan to design or create something daily. No need to spend hours doing so, just find something simple online and recreate it. Will start this tomorrow. I think I will start practicing my illustration techniques 🙂


It doesn’t help if we climb halfway up the mountain in a day and remain there. It is far better to climb it one step at a time daily but reach the top.

Side note, if you can sprint up the mountain and stay there, well, then.. Well done!

 

Advertisements

How to become one of those people that run (for fun) on the weekend.

Believe it or not. It does not come naturally to want to wake up early, get dressed and go for a run in the early hours of the morning. Especially weekends. For fun. I know…

As an adult, there comes a point in your life where you want to improve your overall health. Maybe you want to lose a couple of pounds or just stop getting winded climbing a few stairs. Whatever the case, here are a couple of tips that helped me become one of those early rising, active types. Trust me, this was not always the case.

  1. Start small – not that long ago a victory for me, consisted of waking up and going to the gym. Even if it meant walking at a snail pace for 10 minutes on the treadmill or even just sitting, reading a book in the gym lobby waiting for my friend to finish training.As time goes on, increase the intensity, speed, weight or length of the activity you have chosen. If you are like me (a millennial) you have to fight the urge to want to become a triathlete, overnight, just because you thought it would be or look cool. One training session will not result in your looking like The Rock or taking on the Tour de France.
  2. Be consistent –  Slow and steady wins the race. Walking every single morning for 20 minutes for a month is better than running a 5km once a month.
  3. You cannot out-train poor nutrition – Surprise, surprise. No matter what activity you are doing. Try running a car on mud and it will break down.
  4. Find a gym buddy or running partner – find someone who you enjoy being around,  someone who is in better shape than you and can help push you past the point of what you think is possible. Remember, we become like those we associate ourselves with. Unless you are really self-driven and disciplined, I would say having a gym buddy is vital. I would often throw myself out of bed in a spin at 5 am running out the door to go train. Just because I knew my training partner was downstairs in the car waiting for me.
  5. Find a diet, eating plan, lifestyle (eating method) that works for you– Keep trying until you find something that works for you, you can keep it up long-term and it doesn’t make miserable. Slow and Steady. We in this thing for the long haul. What worked for me was intermittent fasting – OMAD (one meal a day)
  6. Do something that you like – try to find an activity that you like. I hated going to the gym and running. So I would cycle, walk and play squash because I found those to be a lot of fun. After 45 minutes of any of those activities, I would be dead tired, sweaty but had a smile on my face.Now that I am fitter, I actually like running (and gym), I feel better about myself, and can run for more than 2 minutes (not kidding) before it feels like my legs were going to break right under me.
  7. Doing something (even the tiniest amount) is FAR BETTER than NOTHING – I know this is basically point #1 coming up again but it is true. You might be tempted to think that if you can’t get out of bed and run for 20km, there is no point. This is false (thanks Dwight). Keep at it. Waking up turns into walking. Walking to jogging. Jogging to running. Before you know it, you are finishing races and waking up early on a Saturday to go running and there is nothing else you would rather be doing. Not even sleeping.

Whose with me?

Achievement unlocked – Punisher MTB Challenge

On Saturday, June 3rd, I partook in an urban mountain bike race around Johannesburg which included riding through stormwater drains, climbing man-made scaffold bridges, navigating mountainous rocky patways and blindly cycling through dark underground tunnels.

Early morning – Race starting line

The course was 72km (45 miles) long and was very tough. I do not think I was fully prepared for what lay ahead (considering I was close to being one of the last to cross the finish line and around 3hrs behind the race leader) but I know I did the best I could with the time and resources I had and you know what? I did it. I finished the race.

Gareth and myself – waiting for the race to begin.

I completed the race in 06:03:27 and couldn’t be happier. This was the furthermost distance and longest time spent on my bike in one sitting. Funny enough, the following day I was a lot less sore than what I  thought I would be. The next day I  experienced mild discomfort in my shoulders, neck, and traps. This was from being hunched over in one spot for several hours.

It was a long race and would put my body, mind, and training to the test. Going into the race, I kept experiencing nagging thoughts of wanting to ‘know’ that I could ‘definitely’ finish the race. But even when being faced with the “3,2,1” countdown to the race start, I had no evidence that I would be able to conquer the figurative and literal mountain in front of me.

32km Check-in – Feeling great. We just passed through some large stormwater drains.

During the race, there were many times where I had to talk myself down from thoughts of quitting and giving up. Through burning thighs, an aching back and lungs aflame I had to keep going. There was work to be done and no time to complain.

Gareth and I, at the finish line with our Punisher medalsI love moments in life like these. Moments where you do something that should not have been possible. Moments like these are very addictive. We humans, love progress. Defying the odds. Being the underdogs. Sticking it to the ‘man’ etc. Whatever you call it, it is deeply satisfying to conquer these mountains and inevitably move on to the next challenge to overcome (next up – 94.7 Challenge).

Whose with me?!

Trav’s Tips for taking the challenge and completing it.

  1. Don’t give yourself a chance to escape. Register for the event, buy the ticket, say yes!
  2. Do not wait to see if you are ready for it. Decide to do it and then start preparing. You can spend weeks debating whether or not to do the challenge and it could have been spent training and getting ready. Trust me, this was my major downfall with the 2017 Bealieu 45km MTB challenge (which was much harder because I decided to do the race the morning of the event).
  3. Get a Partner to do it with you. Look for someone who can support and push you through it. This was vital for me – thanks Gary!
  4. Physically prepare yourself and get sufficient training.  You will honestly stand on the start line feeling like you could have done more. You probably could have, but you’re here now and it’s ‘Go Time’. Forget about the “Maybes” and “What ifs” and go for it.
  5. Get ready – mentally. Build some mental toughness. Be realistic with yourself and the challenge ahead. Even though I diligently trained my body and ate clean, the day before the race I kept repeating “It won’t be easy but you will do it”. I was right.

Personality.

There is a website. You answer a bunch of questions (try to be as honest with yourself as possible – even if you do not like the answer) and the website crunches the numbers and churns out one of sixteen personalities you closely relate to.

Mine was the Architect Personality. Fancy.

Image result for architect personality

I did my test twice so it must be true, right? Anyway, why not give it a spin and let me know what personality you have, down in the comment section below.

https://www.16personalities.com/intj-personality

Push Yourself.

This coming weekend (Sunday) I will partake in a 72km Mountain Bike Race. I have been Mountain Biking on and off for about a year now but I have never ridden 72km in a single sitting (most has been 45km).

I have trained for the past month two weeks (due to the flu) as well as I could and have tried my best to be as prepared as possible for this punishing task ahead of me. I used the word “punishing” because by completing the 72km race you will, in fact, get a Punisher T-shirt.

I have only ever entered into one other race before this (45km) and it broke me. Partly because I registered at literally the last minute, hadn’t trained at all for the race and worked very physically the day before to the point of bodily fatigue and stiffness resulting the day of the race. Not very smart approach.

Me, changing a tire (for the first time ever) while out training on a technical trail this past weekend. Preparing for the 72km race. Mission was successful.

At the end of that race, I was exhausted and broken but, I did it. I felt so amazing that I finished it and conquered this beast. Sure, it was dumb and FOMO is a real thing, but I did it. I pushed myself. This resulted in some major mental mountains and strongholds to come crashing down. Ultimately, I grew. I progressed. This was one of the best moments in my life.

Now the time has come to push myself once more to do something I have never done before. It helps to surround yourself with others who help push yourself (thanks Gareth), without them, you might never get up and do anything. Or anything that matters. Pushing myself and going beyond what I thought was possible for me has been one of the biggest aspects of progress in my life that helped me combat severe episodes of Panic and Anxiety (something which has been a huge deal to me for 2 decades).

I think it is good to throw yourself into things like this because you need to break down these mental thought castles that restrict and weigh you down. Maybe this is not a must, but it is healthy to do in my opinion. It also opens up new and exciting opportunities that would have never come up if you hadn’t said yes to life.

I believe that it is also good to not always seek out comfort and put yourself in things that make you feel downright uncomfortable. Call it Stoicism, being AntiFragile or just plain sucking it up and getting on with it.

I have seen with preparation for this race that you never feel quite ready for it. You want things of value to come to you and you want it to come easily. No struggle, no pain, no work and no discomfort (I am a millennial after all).

This is exactly why I registered for something that I cannot say with 100% certainty that I can achieve. What I can say is that I will give it my all, I will do my best. I will push myself.

Getting things done. Simplified.

A black and white shot of a man stretching his right leg before running on the road

It is really, really easy to over complicate things. Even when it comes to getting things done. This last year I was able to get the ball rolling on a lot of personal goals some big, some small and I was making some great progress too!

Hmm, progress…

Progress is something that makes me happy, so a good few months back I started reading more, journaling and watching videos on how to do things better, quicker and load more tasks on my plate because of my efforts.

It was around this same time that I started noticing that I was not able to get as much done as I wanted to and my progress sort of stalled, in almost all areas of my personal development journey.

The reason?

Well, I think it has to do with overcomplicating things and although books and media are really a great way to motivate and educate yourself. I found myself thinking more, doing less. Then I took a look at what lead to my previous stretch of progress and how to return to that state. Admittedly it was a particular motivational video (I know, ironic) that lead me to my “Aha” moment.

Solution.

Go back to the basics. When I was making the most progress in my endeavors§ was when I simply showed up and did something small that lead me to my ultimate goal.

For example:

Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian
Action: Do one Duolingo lesson every day.
This should take no longer than 5-10 minutes at most.
This was easy enough for me to consistently do for over 230 days (incl. weekends)
Best Progress Results

New Commitment.
Goal: Be ‘day to day’ fluent in Norwegian.
Action: Study Norwegian every day for 1 hour. Break up the hour session into different lessons that include conversing, reading, writing and watching something in Norwegian.
Lowest Progress Results

No doubt about it, option 2 would yield substantially better results. If I was able to accomplish this intricate regime I set for myself. Mix this regime in with having a busy schedule, family, work and quite a few more goals I have set for myself like: Follow a strict eating plan, Read a certain amount of pages per day, cycle/gym a certain amount every day, Code an hour a day etc, is a recipe for having too many ‘well-meaning things to do’ on your plate. Getting overwhelmed and ending up doing none of them.

Back to Basic. Do. Even if it is a little.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself and ‘increasing the bar’ on your goals, but something that I have come to learn is that taking some form of action of your goal every day for 5 minutes(or less) is far better than having done nothing at all.

Find your passion

We are lucky enough to live in a time where we no longer need to just ‘get a job’ and show up each day to work in a factory, eat our lunch, go home and start the process all over again.

No. Not us. We are likely to be the first generation to quite literally have the world at our fingertips. I heard an interesting fact (or seemingly factual statement made by someone who seemed rather convincing) that most middle-class westerners live better than some Kings did a good couple of years ago. This is beside the point but just let that little nugget sink in for a minute.

The problem with finding your passion.

As a “millennial” I have been told that it is really important to find my purpose, my passion, my calling in life. I have been told that there is an ‘oceanic’ universe-halting moment that I will experience when I find that one thing I was destined to do with my life.  Now, if you are like me, there was not one person who took the time to sit me down and tell me these ‘truths’. Instead, it is something that I have picked up in the most subtle way through (mainly) digital media; things like advertising, movies, magazine ads, and even story books.

Social Media? Well now. Social media is in a class of its own. We have gotten so used to constantly being distracted that each moment we have, where we are not doing something, we return like moths to a flame to the blue glow of our smartphones. We fill ourselves with others stories, others that are all doing so ‘well’, but I digress.

Truth be told, I think I have bought into this “finding your passion” thing for most of my life. Until one day, I realized that this searching for my place in the universe actually had the opposite effect on me and that was a sort of overwhelmed procrastination. I would often find myself, over-thinking ideas, turning away opportunities that I tried for some time but just wasn’t “feeling it” and overall just having a feeling of uncertainty and overwhelmingness that would just leave me, stalling. Doing nothing. Not trying or trying to little.

I should have put a disclaimer out earlier but these ideas are my own and I do not mean to put down any self-improvement endeavors or dreamers out there who want to aspire to do great things.

This blog post is more of an “Ah-Ha” moment for me, where I discovered that in order to actually find my passion is to stop searching for it. By doing so, the pressure of finding this mythical experience becomes much, much less and it allows me to take action and try things. Stick opportunities out a bit longer and put some effort in, even when I am not “feeling it”.

Maybe you are like me, maybe not. Whether you have all your ducks in a row or are still figuring things out. I want to encourage you to just do something. If we continue to do, we will continue to progress, when we progress in something, we get better in that area and enjoy it more. I am paraphrasing here, but these are some (similar) words from Mark Cuban.

So here is to us. Let us take action and do things and by doing, find things that make us happy. Love the journey, not the destination.