Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek
– Mario Andretti
Wise words, but here’s the problem.
There’s a world of difference between knowing something intellectually (I must take more exercise, I must lose weight)…
…and actually doing it.
Now to most folks, “commitment” really means something more like:
I’d sure like to … someday when … (assuming everything else in my life is in place)
What’s real commitment?
It’s when you want to take the island, and you burn your boats.
It’s what mountaineers Joe Simpson & Simon Yates had when they made the first ascent of Siula Grande.
And it’s what my friend, Rhys, had in spades on December 26th.
Because he had every reason in the world not to show up for his pre-dawn training session…
…and I wouldn’t have blamed him for canceling.
Here’s what happened.
The night before Christmas Eve, Sapporo was hit with the biggest December snowfall in 50 years.
Think over three feet of snow in just a few hours.
The city’s New Chitose airport was in meltdown (no pun intended) with hundreds of flights canceled and thousands of travelers sleeping on the floor.
Hell, a small riot even broke out when some passengers tried to break through security and fight their way to the gate.
(Unsurprisingly, that didn’t end well: Japanese riot police 1, passengers 0)
Anyhow, Rhys drove the 60 miles to the airport to pick up a guest scheduled to arrive at 2pm on December 24th.
And while her plane landed on time…
…they didn’t get out of the airport and hit the road until 5am Christmas Day, some 15 hours later.
After a whole night spent waiting around, wondering what the hell was going on.
(I guess Japanese efficiency took a hike that day)
So, when Rhys finally got home, he trudged off to bed for a few hours of well-earned shut eye, right?
It was straight into a full-on 14-hour day – dealing with guests, staff and being a great host to families enjoying their Christmas vacation.
He finally crashed out late that night…
…and was up preparing breakfast for a couple of dozen people just a few hours later, before heading to the gym for his pre-dawn session.
So, did he drag himself in through the door with his head down, feeling sorry for himself?
No fricking way!
He was almost bouncing off the walls.
“Man, I’ve been looking forward to this!”
And guess what?
This stressed-out, sleep-deprived dude hit PRs in every single lift he did:
Squatting 1.2x bodyweight and deadlifting 1.7x bodyweight, both for sets of 5.
(Keep in mind that Rhys had his right ankle pinned after an accident a few years back, and even found squatting without a bar challenging just four months earlier)
He now squats like a member of the Chinese Olympic weightlifting team.
The single biggest reason?
He makes training 2x/week an absolute must.
Like when he went on vacation a few weeks after he started training with me, what did he do?
He checked online and found a place to train while he was away.
Not only that, he showed up and put in the work while he was there.
(After all, there’s a world of difference between “researching” and actually following through and doing something productive)
He came back from his vacation stronger than when he left!
So it was no surprise that he didn’t just show up on December 26th and go through the motions.
He brought his A game and he just dominated.
And get this:
I was so inspired that when I trained later that same day, I had an outstanding session, too.
After all, nothing gives you more drive than being around people who are motivated and getting awesome results.
So, here’s the bottom line:
Even if you feel like hell, just head in anyway.
Bring the right mindset, and your body will play ball.
Listen, a few years back, I had a nasty stomach bug that poleaxed me for 2-3 days.
Amazingly, I was able to make it into the gym for my next planned session, telling myself:
“Even if you only squat the empty bar, it’s a victory”
And I was so stoked to be out of bed and able to do something, that I felt this weird sense of calmness, gratitude and certainty.
(I know that sounds crazy but I swear it’s true)
The empty bar felt good.
As did 135 lbs.
So did 225 lbs.
I squatted a PR of 300 lbs for 5 sets of 5 that day, and it was one of the best training sessions I’ve ever had.
Coincidentally, that’s exactly what I hit on December 26th after coaching Rhys.
The heaviest sets of squats I’ve done since training for and completing my first marathon.
And do you know what?
They didn’t really feel that hard.
After all, being totally committed can make light work of anything.
So, does that mean we all need to start making serious commitments to seemingly unattainable goals?
But we can all start making serious commitments to tiny things that will make a difference, right now.
• Choosing to focus on what we really want rather than what we don’t
• Closing our minds to self-doubt, negativity, and past “failures”
• Not letting today be a repeat of yesterday
And while this might sound kind of daunting at first, it really isn’t that hard.
The more you use your commitment “muscle”, the stronger it gets.
Almost before you know it, you’ll be doing stuff that other people won’t believe possible, but to you…
…it’ll seem easy.
P.S. A big thank you to Rhys for letting me share his story :)
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