How To Master Habits Without Working Out

Habits are natural; it is how we fail to see them that is natural. It’s a lot like an elephant: the longer you stare at it, the more you’re going to miss it by staying and staring…until you’re back at square one.

I’ve always felt bad for those people who take part in endless races, who try to do everything at once, who are like a turtle on a tightrope balancing and falling, who get so caught up in their activities they never even break the ground. The fact is, it’s easier to have a healthy lifestyle while working on it all at once. When you work on a lifestyle and not the other way round, it’s very much harder to fail. When you work on the lifestyle with an active desire to become successful, you can then work with your activities, and your health, in tandem.

We are the masters of our habits. It’s how we fail to see them, and the reasons for our failure, that we are truly masters of.

“It’s only after failure and self-discipline that the world opens its gates for man.” ~ Albert Einstein I remember one time, when I first started, looking at the people who had been practicing martial arts in martial arts gyms all these years.  The people who would come out of there with their arms in a sling, and their legs taped together and all kinds of other injuries…I thought “Oh well, it must be a lot of work.”  I wasn’t expecting to be able to train like that.  I certainly wasn’t expecting to do everything at once.  I think the problem some people have when they first start is they look at a routine (such as Tai Chi, BJJ, Karate, etc.) that is not as complex as it could be, and wonder how they could ever be able to do that kind of routine. It’s easy to forget that the way you’ve trained your whole life does not necessarily translate into how you will train when you first start to try it out. You can spend the first month or so practicing in the same method; and before long, when you get hit with new techniques that don’t immediately strike you as good (or at least not as easily), you’ll start to adjust to this new method.  The key to the system is in the initial process, and you can see this in every aspect of your training (even while you’re working on the technical aspects). You begin in your old way and change later.  It’s easy to start with what feels good, or as good as you think it is, but in any system (and the reason it’s so important when you first start a training program, is so that the system is very flexible) the system is meant to be flexible, and this first phase will be a good way to begin to get that out of the way. The second phase, where you try to learn new techniques that you haven’t tried before, is also the moment when you get your foot in the door of the “harsh reality of real martial arts.” You may go through phases where you don’t have time or energy left over from the other phases.  You may go through your first class and you don’t feel like you have much of a sense of accomplishment or that you even want to go to class.  You may feel like learning this particular technique is like learning to walk from one extreme to the other.  When you actually start to train in the harsh reality of real martial arts, those first month or so are the first time you’re going to go through a period of feeling “disadvantaged,” which will make you realize that there’s a lot more to learning martial arts than you had expected… and that you’re not going to get there for the same reasons as you had anticipated – because the martial art was too difficult or too difficult to master, and you started a year late.