Labor Day Challenge – Day 1
Labor Day Challenge – Day 1
Last week, I decided to undertake the Labor Day Challenge. An opportunity to challenge myself in several key areas of my life…a six-week period for me to cleanse my body, engage my mind, stimulate my spirit and power-up professionally.
I was talking to my good buddy Ross Moyer (who doubles as my personal trainer) about getting back into the saddle of routinely working out. A couple years ago, I lost a ton of weight – about 65 pounds – through hard work, careful diet and consistent perseverance. I got to a place where I was comfortable with my size and have mostly maintained this weight ever since. This year, I decided I was going to do whatever it took to get buff..you know, the mental image every guy has of pure physical beauty – six pack abs, chiseled arms and chest, etc. (I even cared about my chicken legs). I have done well a few of months of the year, but I have not worked out or eaten healthy since my trip to Cuba. In other words, I have gotten soft. I realized that something needed to be done, and this is why I was talking to Ross. As we set in his living room talking about working out and dieting, he told me that it took six weeks of consistent weight training to see visible and noticeable results. I told him I was considering the Labor Day challenge, six weeks of hardcore training to get the results I desired. It so happened the Labor Day was approaching, and that six weeks after Labor Day was the college’s Fall Break. This gave me a time period to focus on, and an opportunity to try out the Labor Day Challenge.
There has been a multitude of research on the successful results of a high-intensity focus over a short time period, and how dedicating all of your efforts toward your goal will help you succeed. Think about it like a garden that is overgrown with weeds and grass, to get the beautiful flowers and plants you someday want, you must put in hours or days of hard work cleaning it all out, picking weeds and tilling earth. After you clear it out, you have a fresh start, and must then invest time and energy on planting the seeds or bulbs and developing them with high intensity. After the plants are grown and the weeds are removed, it is much easier to maintain your garden, systematically watering and feeding and removing weeds as it is necessary. However, this is much easier than the sweat and hard work you initially invested in your project. The Labor Day Challenge will help me get to a point to where all I need to do is maintain my results, and enjoy the progress.
The best-selling book, “The Happiness Project,” delves into these ideas as the author, Gretchen Rubin, tries to achieve her resolutions by focusing on a specific goal for a month, and then maintaining that goal with less intensity throughout the year. Hopefully, the things we focus on for the intense period become habits, and are easy to maintain. In the first month of her journey, she dedicates her life to improve her vitality and boost her energy. She accomplished this by sleeping earlier, exercising better, organizing her life, tackling a nagging task, and by acting more energetic. By doing small things well for a short period of time, she truly became happy. I hope the Labor Day Challenge does this for me. Happy body, happy mind, happy job, happy marriage, happy soul.
After talking to Ross and developing a workout plan, I was more determined than ever. I decided that I cannot just focus on the physical aspect of my life, that I must also develop other areas of my life as well. After much consideration, I decided to focus on five areas of my life that I would like to see measured improvement: Physical, Mental, Professional, Marriage, and Spiritual. It is not that I am poor in any or all of these areas, in some areas I am better than most, or do extremely well. I am reminded of the quote my Uncle Garry said when Cousin Amy graduated high school, “If you are good, be good. If you are great, do not be good, be great.” I think I can take it to another level, “If you are great, be great. But if you are excellent, do not be great, be excellent.” In some of these areas I am good and need to be great, but in most of my life, I am great and need to be excellent, and there is no better time than now, no better opportunity than this. One of my favorite quotes is from Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” I want to make excellence a habit. This is my Labor Day Challenge.
I challenge you to create your own Labor Day Challenge. An area of your life you need or want to improve, and set out to do whatever it takes to improve it in six weeks. Each day I will be discussing the things involved in my Labor Day Challenge, so check back every day for some ideas and an opportunity to see what I am planning in my life for the next six weeks. Also, comment below to let me know what you are working on, and hopefully we can spur each other to success.