I hate exercise.
Seriously, I hate it. You heard right: A Certified Personal Trainer and dedicated, hard-core ‘Gym Rat’… doesn’t like to exercise. How is this duplicity possible? Here’s how: Discipline and Result.
I may not like exercising but I do like results. As with many people, being fit and healthy is important to me. Exercise is a means to that end. When I go to the gym, I don’t go to have fun – I go to work, and work hard. For me, it’s not about a New Year’s resolution, or an exciting lifestyle change. After twenty years of pushing and punishing myself, it’s simply about one thing: Result.
We all strive to find that level of discipline in ourselves and our careers. We also seek that dedication and self-control in those around us. Ultimately, discipline is about focus — a single-mindedness that drives us toward our goals.
Contrary to what some may think, discipline isn’t innate — it can be taught and trained. In fact, the transformation of the undisciplined into the disciplined is the foundation of our military. Yet we all can become more focused without befriending or becoming a drill sergeant. Once that control has taken root, we begin — through example — to spread that method and mentality to our employees and colleagues.
In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography (yes I read it… ‘Gym Rat,’ remember?), he talks about his approach to tasks and projects. He calls it “Reps, Reps, Reps.” After developing an overall goal, he’ll break it down into small, repetitious tasks designed to form habit. He repeats those tasks in the same way he would perform reps at the gym: over and over, keeping count, always pushing to hit the number he’d set for himself. This is Arnold’s version of ‘eating the elephant one bite at a time’ but designed more around habit creation. He would relentlessly repeat a task; always keeping track, until it became so ingrained that he stopped thinking about it. Before long, he’d mastered it and was moving on to the next goal.
Remember in Terminator 2, when Arnold was riding the Harley Fat Boy while shooting a 12-gauge shotgun with one hand? He fired the shotgun, then twirled to reload it, fired again, twirl, then took aim and blasted through a fence at about 40mph. That task: Spin-cocking a shotgun, with his weak hand, while riding a motorcycle, wasn’t easy; and he really did it himself. Arnold spent three months walking around his house with a lever-action shotgun, twirling it over and over again until he’d mastered it. It was such a tricky maneuver that, while practicing, he literally fractured three fingers in his left hand. But he kept at it — twirl, click, twirl — over and over again until it became second nature. He counted the number of reps performed each day (it was in the hundreds), and kept focused on that goal for one flawless ten-second scene.
Reps, Reps, Reps, Repeat.
Schwarzenegger has incorporated that process of discipline and habit throughout his life, and it’s paid off. Arnold was not only the most successful bodybuilder of all time, but became a self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur long before he’d taken up acting. Discipline is the secret to success at work, in business, as well as the gym: Reps, Reps, Reps.
Start high, set the goal. Then break up the goal into specific projects. Subdivide those projects into tasks. Make the completion of those tasks habitual, doing them over and over again. Do them when you’re tired, do them when you don’t feel like it, just do them. Before long, you don’t think about whether or not you like to do it, you just do it. Then you tackle the next one, and the next, and so on. Eventually you’ll realize how disciplined you’ve become without even realizing it. You will have taken control and focused on achieving your goals.
It will surprise you when others begin to take notice, and start cultivating that discipline in themselves. Show them, through example, what can be achieved with just a few reps.
As for me: Break’s over, time to get back to my sit-ups. Maybe I really do like exercise after all…
Chris Clovis has had the honor and pleasure of 25 years in the Powersports Industry, currently serving as Vice-President of EagleRider Motorcycles [www.eaglerider.com]. Chris’ opinions are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer, publisher, or clients. Chris admits to doing a LOT of sit-ups, but hates every one of them.