Life on the road.
I am on the road all the time now traveling to work with great companies, coaches and teams. Mainly I travel by car. Podcasts, books on tapes, many hard to hear phone calls (my apologies friends), talk radio, music, and silence, long periods of silence, these are my companions.
One debate that comes up often on podcasts and interviews revolves around habits and will power.
The debate: Does will power erode with continual use or does it strengthen if you rely on it for your changing habits? In other words, can you strengthen it by using it? Do you lose resolve with too much dependence on it?
There are many people who write and think in the habit space that are much smarter, much more informed than I am. Read them for a deeper dive into habits and the many techniques you can employ to change them: Gretchen Rubin, James Clear, Daniel Pink, Charles Duhigg, Stephen Covey, as well as numerous academics and coaches who discuss their ideas on habits embedded in their bigger performance ideas.
Or, the newest recommendation I just came upon
Back to life on the road….
When coaching I always started a season fresh and with good intentions to stay fit, but my will power absolutely eroded during season and especially on the road. Or, perhaps my attention did. There was too little time, too much food around, fatigue and too many other priorities.
These same variables can appear now with a life on the road. There’s food everywhere in America and most is either not healthy or “fake healthy.” Some of the worst is the most available–cheap and quick. Time slips by quickly each day. Social support is limited when far from home. It’s super easy to think you “deserve” things.
But, my intention and commitment has deepened and after being on the road for almost three weeks now I have started to notice a few things:
“At the moment of commitment the whole world conspires to assist you.” Goethe
Subtraction is Easier:
I have an easier time maintaining the things that I’ve eliminated from my life. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t eat meat, I really limit bread and sugar. These things I am doing really well in my life on the road. I have established my work-arounds for the inconvenience factor. I am committed.
I find social support in reading and listening to others on the journey.
Willpower has deepened when I’m tempted.
Adding is Harder:
But, I have a hard time adding hard workouts and commitments to my schedule. Even if I have open gaps of time.
I don’t lift as often as I have been at home. I walk up to the door of a big gym and frankly I walk away. My plan was to buy a two week membership but nope.
I’m not getting any hill runs or distance running in. I go to the woods to walk, but I miss my heart break hill and hard climb hill training buddies.
When I’m home Saturday I will jump back in that routine, but I do not add it into my schedule on the road.
Willpower, or motivation perhaps, has eroded when it comes to these habits that require I add to my schedule.
Although I would like to be writing about how I solved the exercise conundrum some time this year, for right now I’m actually not beating myself up over this. I acknowledge it’s hard to find the right place to workout. Though lifting and running would probably add to my energy I have compassion for the fatigue inherent in my schedule.
Don’t waste any energy on self recriminations.
This simple act of compassion has made it easier to continue on with more of my good habits.
I no longer behave as though it’s hopeless. Carol Dweck’s growth mindset technique involving the word “yet” works for me.
Just add that to the end of your sentence. “I have not figured out a workout schedule on the road, yet.”
That was certainly true when it came to healthy eating habits.
Good luck this season and take care of yourself coach.
Two books that have informed how I think about habits and happiness:
New movie I want to see Brittany Runs a Marathon