Here’s why going to the gym means nothing
One area of my life that I’ve been trying to work on recently is my physical fitness. And I realized something recently:
Going to the gym is not the same thing as getting exercise.
I’ve been “going to the gym” for years now. But only recently have I actually started getting stronger. Why? Because just going to the gym does nothing to actually get you results.
In fact, this is a universal principle:
just doing an activity that’s designed to improve you or your life is not guaranteed to do so.
This is where the principle of “Give your all” comes from. If you’re going to work out, the only way that you actually improve is in the pain of exertion. It is the final 10% of effort that grants you results.
For example, when doing squats, which rep builds the most muscle in you? Let’s say you do ten reps. Which rep is most important?
The correct answer is number eleven!
It’s in pushing yourself to the very boundaries of what your body is able to do that you actually see progress.
And this applies to all aspects of life, not just exercise. I know some people who love reading books, but they don’t ever read anything challenging! I’m not saying everyone should go out and find some PhD dissertations to read. But it’s good if some of the books you read are challenging you. Progress comes when it takes effort.
Game of inches
And the good news is that this is a game of inches. It doesn’t take a massive amount of extra effort.
Look at this image, which is from a Super Bowl two decades ago. This is how the game ended.
How much further did he have to go to win the game? Did he have to travel another hundred yards? No. The difference between victory and defeat can be one inch away.
You’re one inch away from seeing improvement in many areas of your life. But right now you’re not willing to give that final 1% of effort.
So why don’t we go for it?
Answer: we’re afraid that if we give it our all and fail, then we don’t have a story to fall back on.
Because if we give it 100% and we fail, we can fall back on the claim that we didn’t really try our best.
So how can you move forward?
Stop judging yourself so hard!
So what you need to do right now is to notice one area in your life where you’re only giving 90, 95, or 99% of your effort.
Give it the final effort. And approach it without fear. Imagine it’s a game. Approach the issue with a playful attitude: “What might happen if I just give this my final levels of energy?”