The Power of an Average Day

man by window on average work day

In our culture we tend to love extremes. Six pack in six weeks? Damn straight I’ll buy that! Although, .. a part of you knows that it’s probably not going to work that well.

We want it all and we want it now. We’ll work hard, why can’t we have it all now? Without a lot of luck, does it ever work that way? Can you think of many, … or any, examples of hard work trumping consistency?

Hard work is good but it doesn’t work on its own, particularly if it’s not sustainable; this is where the power of an average day lies. Big things aren’t often achieved quickly especially if those big things require the cultivation of new skills and relationships.

Children aren’t raised to be great, well-balanced adults through big moments in their childhoods. It’s all of the little things, the time and support given on a daily basis that helps them develop and learn. You can’t make a plant grow much faster by giving it a year of rainfall in a week.

If you want to get a great body then no six-week shred is going to do as much for you as the habit of hitting the gym a few times each week. No juice fast will be as productive as learning to cook healthy, calorie balanced meals. They say nothing worth having comes easy but I don’t agree, because sometimes it does. Nothing worth having comes quickly though.

Do You Try Too Hard?

In these times where more is better and those who excel are praised for their discipline and sacrifices, the idea that most fail because they try too hard is crazy right? But if you think about it a bit longer, maybe it is plausible. Perhaps we set ourselves difficult goals and despite trying very hard, we fail simply because our the way we approached the task made it too difficult. Maybe those who succeed don’t actually work harder at all, maybe they just keep at it for longer.

Bodybuilders don’t do cardio four times a day on top of their lifting routine when leaning down, they do it perhaps once each day and keep at it for months.

Powerlifters rarely train more than once per day but they get under the bar every week.

Those that lose fat successfully don’t cut their calories drastically or go on silly diets, they reduce their calorie levels slightly knowing that maintaining their efforts over months will produce the results they want far better than the latest fad diet or supplement ever could. They will also develop task-specific skills like calorie counting, shopping for good foods and cooking healthy meals, and more general skills like self-control.

It all gets quite easy though, which is good. Who said it had to be hard?

Easy Does It

If you’re struggling with weight, whether you can’t gain it, lose it or lift it, get back to basics and stop trying so hard.

Train a few times per week. More is fine if you have the time and want to do it but it’s far from essential for those who aren’t competitive athletes.

Eat the right calories for your goal. Modest reductions or increases are generally enough, they often lead to the best results too. It’s the sort of change that you probably wouldn’t notice if you weren’t consciously creating it.

Learn the skills. Set out to learn a new dish every couple of weeks along with the calories it contains. Learn a new exercise every month or so.

Have an Average Day!

A phrase I’m unapologetically stealing from Michael Neill, author of ‘Supercoach’ who, as it happens, also stole it from someone else.

Not a great day, not an awesome day but an average day. Remember, this isn’t some short-term mission that you’re on, this is your life. Get comfortable for the ride, find your pace and keep moving forward. You only ever really fail if you give up.