What is First?

First Things First by Stephen Covey is a great book on time management. It takes us deeper into Covey’s system for managing our most valuable asset; time. During a seminar on time management one of the presenters said something that pertains to working towards our goals and objectives that stuck with me. He said; the first thing you do upon waking is the first thing. If the first thing I do upon waking isn’t taking me towards my goals, then I need to think about my goals, and what’s really important to me.

 

If one of my goals is to improve my Jiujitsu escapes from bottom then the first thing I should be doing upon waking is something that takes me closer to this goal. Get out of bed, and get the coffee brewing. While I’m waiting for my coffee I can do hip escapes/shrimps,  bridges/upas, sit-outs or any number of solo drills that prime my mind and body to think all day about my goal of improving my Jiujitsu.

 

This also applies to any other goal in the multidisciplinary practice. If we want to improve our pistol skills then the first thing I should do is dry practice. If I want to level up my standup game then I should be shadowboxing as soon as I’m awake enough to move around. The mental act of starting to work on reaching my goal as soon as I’m awake is important. It sets the tone and pace for the day. Coach Cecil Burch of Immediate Action Combatives has spoken and written quite often about using every available minute for our daily practice as we are all on a time crunch. Those moments while waiting for our coffee to brew, or the shower water to regulate is a few more minutes or reps.  It’s a simple way to get into the mental state of using every available moment when we start our day working on our goal.

 

As I recall the presentation on time management, and reaching goals I think about how many times I have started my day looking at what others are doing. I surf social media to see what my friends, and family are doing, check emails, or my RSS feed. While these things are all interesting, there is a good chance none of these things are helping me reach my goals. I have effectively told myself what others are doing is more important than my goals, and what I want to do. It might sound self serving yet, I think it’s okay to focus on ourselves and our goals for the first few moments of the day.

 

Think about your goals. Think about how you start your day. If those two things aren’t congruent maybe it’s time to put yourself and your goals first, at least for the first part of your day. Try it for a few weeks, and see if it doesn’t move you closer to reaching your goals.

 

The New Normal

I often think about the idea of the new normal.  I used to think normal was some form of static position. Then I realized that as we progress in this journey our understanding and definition for what is normal is constantly adjusting. I had the opportunity to talk about this with a friend that is a serious CrossFitter. We were talking about his first WoD years ago. He thought he was going to die, and had some serious doubts as to whether he could drive himself home after the workout. His normal at that time said this level of effort isn’t possible. His normal said he might have pushed himself too far, and this might just be what it feels like right before you die. His version of normal was about to be reset.

Five years later his version of normal, the new normal, is quite different. He now breezes through WoD’s that would have left him on the floor a few years ago. Incrementally, little by little, his normal changed. As he pushed himself he realized he won’t die, he might pass out or puke, but he won’t die. And most importantly he will adapt, and normal will be reset yet again. Here’s the cool thing, this resetting of what he viewed, and accepted as normal in his pursuit of fitness caused him to change his view of what he was willing to accept as normal in other areas of his life.

This applies to everything we do. How often do we feel like a stranger in a strange land? If not very often, then that’s a subject for another day my friend because we all need to be pushing ourselves. How many of us remember our first day on the mat? Getting smashed, smothered, feeling like we were dropped into the deep end of a pool full of sharks. None of this stuff was normal, and we entertained thoughts of quitting until suddenly one day it was the new normal. One day being in that pool with those sharks was just another normal day.

 

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Look at this magnificent beast.                                                           

Here’s the lesson we take from these experiences; look forward to those times of discomfort, of feeling like things are not normal, we are out of our depth, and that this effort might be more than we can sustain. Whether it’s a calorie restriction, or a new sprint training program, whatever it is dig into that feeling of being out of our element knowing that in just a little while we will reset, and this will be the new normal.

Little by little, day after month after year we keep adjusting, and resetting our normal until one day we don’t even remember what it was like to be what most folks call normal. This is our new normal.

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There’s a reason they call him Super

Super Dave Harrington doing what S-Dave does. Check it out, and get motivated. Maybe drag a treadmill onto the range and shake things up a bit. All hits, while moving. That’s how it’s done!

 

 

I talked to S-Dave about this clip and some of the backstory regarding this. One of the challenges of shooting on the move is the shooter will slow down to accommodate their vision, stabilizing the pistol, essentially taking it easy on themselves. Using a treadmill forces the shooter to keep the pace, and break the shot in a less than ideal moment. However, if we mount and stabilize the gun properly, see what we need to see to make the shot, and trust our technique we will be okay.

It’s incumbent upon us to find ways to challenge ourselves, and force ourselves out of our comfort zones. Only performance matters, and we should be ready to do whatever it takes to reach a higher performance level even if it is a little unorthodox.