Sunday, September 20, 2015

What Was That “D” Word?


I actually started writing this post over a week ago but just couldn't finish it...or post it...not sure what the hold up was. Maybe I just wanted to see if I could follow the advice I was reading. Looking back over the past several days, I would say "yes". In most instances I have made small, positive steps that I plan on continuing. I'm not saying that I didn't have some slip ups or set backs, but for the most part I moved towards my goal.

The Compound Effect

Last week I started reading a book titled “The Compound Effect”. The underlying theory is very similar to that of the book “The Slight Edge”. In fact, the author of “The Compound Effect” mentioned “The Slight Edge” in his book. The theory is that small, smart choices over time lead to huge rewards. After several months of training for an “iron” distance race (140.6 miles) I can attest to the fact that this practice does work.

Was I ready for my race after a single swim workout, ride or run? No. Was a ready after a week of training? No. If I looked at any single workout, it wouldn’t be enough to get me across the finish line. However, every time I did a prescribed workout (a small, smart choice) it was compounded with all of my other workouts to improve my endurance and fitness. Before I knew it I was race ready. This is the “compound effect”.

The “D” Word   

As I was reading the introduction to the book, a single word caught my attention. It was a word that described something I knew I needed to work on. I tucked that word into the back of my mind with plans to revisit it later.

Labor Day morning, our tri group got together for a social ride. It was a beautiful morning and there was plenty of conversation to make the ride seem to fly by. The last stretch of the ride is along Highway 12 and certain parts of this section require us to ride single file. During this bit of quiet time I started thinking about that word I had tucked away. What was that word? It started with a “D”, I knew that much.

Was it determination? Nope, not it.

Dedication? No...seems close though.

Desire? No, not that either.

As I was running through the possibilities in my mind, I was shaking my head “no” to each wrong guess. Sort of like a pitcher shaking off the pitch call from the catcher. What was that that word??? For the life of me I could not remember what it was. I kept going through the same “D” words over and over. Not being able to remember the word was driving me nuts!!! When I got home from the ride, I grabbed my Kindle and scrolled to the right page…


That’s it! Discipline! I need to work on discipline!

Really! I Do!

Now, many of you that follow this blog may think one of the last things I lack is discipline. How could I possibly train for and complete Vineman without discipline? Well, I am not 100% lacking in discipline, in certain areas of my life I have crazy amounts of discipline (crazy being the key word). In other areas, my discipline really could use some work.

If we are talking about following a workout schedule, I have no problem being disciplined. My discipline in this area probably comes from me being a little OCD. If it is on the schedule, I am going to do it. If the workout calls for a 10 mile run, I will not stop running until my Garmin ticks over from 9.99 to 10.0. It is not unusual for HS to look out the kitchen window and see me running around our block a couple times just to get my mileage correct.

On the other hand, if it’s my diet, my discipline can vanish in a flash. If I’m stressed, tired, angry, happy, whatever…I can quickly turn into an eating machine. This is what I need to work on because being undisciplined with a workout schedule is much different than being undisciplined with food. If I had a run scheduled and I skipped it, I would not undo the week’s previous workouts. The skipped workout would probably not even have an effect. It may not have an effect until I had actually skipped several workouts.

However, if I had been eating clean all week and following my nutrition plan…maybe I had even dropped a couple of pounds, I could undo all of this work with a day or two of poor choices and/or overeating. This is my typical pattern. Eat clean all week at work and blow it all on the weekend. I need to bring my weekday discipline to Saturdays and Sundays. I’m not suggesting that I need to be super strict 24-7, but I need to not go hog wild either.

The Plan

The compound effect is simple:  Small, smart choices + consistency + time = radical difference. My plan is to make two small, smart choices for the next month.

#1 – Give up my daily Coke Zero at work.
#2 – No after work or between meal snacking.

At the end of the month I will assess my progress and add another small change to my plan.

September 20 Update

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I started writing this over a week ago. I am pleased to announce that I have been Coke Zero free and I have been 90% good about the after work snacking. Now to think about what I want to add to my list of small, smart choices :-)

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