Ep 118: Just start
When I was in college, my professors all used the same phrase over and over again in class.
I was studying journalism, and I wanted to be a sports writer.
Inevitably, whether it was for an in-class writing assignment or writing a story for the student newspaper, there would be a day where I would sit down at my computer to work on my story and the words just wouldn't come to me.
I would stare at the blinking cursor as I wracked my brain for the perfect way to begin the masterpiece I was about to create. At least, that was always the expectation in my head (more on that in a bit).
Surely you've been there as well.
It could have been when you were in college writing your own essay for a class. It could have been writing an email to an important prospective client to try to seal the deal just today.
Heck, for a split second, it happened to me as I sat down to write this post!
But the one thing my college journalism professors always said — every last one of them, which was kinda weird — was this: Just start writing.
Whether its the worst thing you've ever written or the next Pulitzer Prize-winning piece, just start the dang thing!
You can always go back, edit stuff out, adjust the words here and there, or even rewrite the whole thing.
But the most important step was to Just. Start. Writing.
And you know what? It worked.
Even if the words I typed were complete and utter crap on a cracker, just the act of writing something — ANYTHING — got the creative juices flowing enough for me to stop thinking about it so much and just ... write.
My professors were right. When I just started writing and then went back and re-read my work and started to edit, without fail, I'd find a better way to say what I wanted to say. I'd find a more compelling angle to the story to lead off with. I'd rearrange my story so it made more sense.
I could always go back and adjust.
OK, so what do the journalism professors at Kansas State University have to do with being a fit dad? Or fitness at all?
I get asked the same question over and over again during podcast interviews or by people who email me asking for advice: What's the best way to get started?
It's taken me some time to find the words to clearly articulate this (thanks editing), but I've boiled it down to this...
Just. Start. Moving.
Most guys today lead sedentary lifestyles. They sit in the car to and from work. They sit at their desk at work. They sit on the couch at home. They sit for every meal.
So yeah, simply moving more each day is where I'd begin, because even just that is a drastic shift for most dudes.
But what about actually exercising and working out?
When I made the decision back in 2012 that I was going to get fit and focus on my health and fitness — for my sake and my family's sake — I didn't take a month to research the best plan and I didn't create a set workout schedule.
I signed up for a gym membership and I just started going.
At least an hour a day. Six days a week.
What did I do during those workouts?
I did the basic stuff that I knew how to do. Bench press some dumbbells over here. Bust out some bicep curls over there. Oh yeah, I better do some leg press as well because I heard you never skip leg day.
Was it perfect? Nope.
What it the most effective way to lift weights? Nope.
Did any of that really matter at the time? Nope.
It didn't matter because I had done the first hardest thing required to put myself on a path to get where I wanted to go, which was way better than not doing anything at all.
Perhaps you've been there.
You tell yourself that you want to workout and exercise more, and just like me back in college when I stared at my computer screen agonizing over how to write my next story, you try to envision the perfect scenario and you try to come up with the perfect plan and you try to create the entire finished product before you've even taken the very first step.
Remember earlier when I said I'd get back to expectations? Well here it is...
Expectations are crippling, especially when the most important thing you need to be concerned about is just getting started.
Expectations scream at you, "You better get this right!" They taunt you, "You'll never be able to do it the way it's supposed to be."
But how do you know what to expect when you haven't even started?
All that is required of you is to show up and make the first move.
Don't worry about looking silly or doing the "wrong thing" or not looking the part.
None of that matters, because you can always go back and adjust. You can make changes. As you get deeper into your own fitness story, you can edit as you go so that you can rewrite your future story.
Yes, you have to apply a little bit of common sense along the way.
You can't just walk into the gym as a total newbie, load up 315 pounds on the bench press your first time, and expect that things are just going to turn out well for you.
Please don't do that.
But know this: How you start is not indicative of how you'll be in a week, a month, a year, or a decade.
You'll learn, you'll get better, and you'll go back and make steady improvements along the way.
But unlike writing a story, or this email, you'll never stop editing or making tweaks.
All it takes is that one first step.
If you're still not convinced that you're ready, on my site at FitDadFitness.com, I've got free workout guides, I've got the Daily Fit Dad membership, and I've got my custom, one-on-one online coaching to make taking that first step a little easier.
If you ever do have questions, just email me and I'm more than happy to help.
All the best to you!