Do The Bare Minimum

I don’t want you to be an underachiever.  And you won’t be if you decide to do the bare minimum.  What I am advocating is a choice to take action: the least amount that you can and then build momentum.  What you are going to do is create a habit of action that leads to motivation that leads to success.

When I wake up, I’m tired and sore and my muscles and joints ache.  It’s what I call, “getting old.”  When I go to the gym, I read the workout on the board and I am often terrified inside.  When it comes time to cook, I am often tempted to go to seamless and just have food delivered.  How do I overcome the inertia? I take action in the right direction, but I start with the least amount of action.  It takes some guts to jump into the deep end of a freezing cold pool, it’s not impossible, but it often takes some convincing.  It takes next to no convincing to dip your toe in the cold water. 

Motivation follows action.  Act first.  Having a small warmup routine gets me moving and gets me in action.  Once I’m in action and moving, I then get motivated to start doing more.  It’s like dipping your toe in the water.  It’s cold but you quickly acclimate.  Then you feel refreshed and put both feet in.  Then you start to go deeper and eventually, you’re in the pool swimming.

Here is a list of things I do to overcome the inertia:

  • Grab a theraband and I start doing some shoulder warmups.
  • Use a Yoga Tune Up therapy ball and roll out the bottom of my feet.
  • Do an easy yoga pose like child’s pose.
  • Close your eyes and take the longest slowest breath you can (inhale and exhale).
  • Open the fridge and find some protein you want to eat.

Once I take a small step in the right direction the next steps often follow and before I know it I have made some progress.  Just take small steps in the right direction.  Take a goal and subdivide it until you find the smallest step you can take.  If you want to start meditating, the smallest step is to close your eyes and take one deep breath.  More will follow.  If you want a pull-up the smallest step you can take is to warm up your shoulders, once they are warm, you will be motivated to do more exercises. The bare minimum of a journey of a thousand miles is a single step.  Start there.

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