On Turning Pro

In a post called In Defense of New Year’s Resolutions at the end of last month, I wrote a little bit about my own resolution of conquering the anxiety that effectively ruined much of the second half of 2012 for me. (Or, to take responsibility for it, the anxiety that I employed to mess up the second half of the year for myself.)

It turned out that people were more interested in those few paragraphs than they were in the other 1500 words in the post, so today I’m following up on that topic with some more details. Not so much about my own issues — that’s a bit too self-indulgent for my liking, and probably not universally applicable — but instead, about how I plan to fix them.

And that “how,” I think, is immensely applicable.  Whether you’re an athlete, a mother, an artist, a business person or, well, a human.

The real reason to set goals

I’ve read many times that the real purpose of setting a goal isn’t the achievement of the goal itself. Instead, the reason to set a goal is because of the person you will have to become to achieve it.

On the flip side, I believe that’s also the best place to start making plans to take on the goal. Instead of asking, “What do I need to do to make this goal happen?”, the better question to ask is, “What type of person do I need to become to make this goal happen?”

Conquering anxiety, although my most important goal, is not my only goal. I also set goals for running and fitness, goals for my relationships with my wife, son, and future daughter, and financial and business goals. When I asked myself, for each goal, who I needed to become to make it happen, I found that the answer was the same across all of them.

You need to grow the hell up.

This sounds harsher than it feels. It doesn’t feel harsh; it’s not an insult. It’s just the truth.

What do I mean? I mean that scattered all throughout my life, there are areas where I’ve allowed an apathy or laziness creep in, where there was once only discipline.

Slowly, imperceptibly, the weeds have taken the garden.

Take, for example, fitness. I’ve had a grand old time “staying healthy” the past few years, running when I feel like it, for as far or as short as I feel like, however fast (or more often, slow) I want to. Or dropping running entirely to hit the gym for a few months, to see how much weight I can pack on with a vegan diet.

Fun times. Easy times. It’s been like that, really, since I qualified for Boston in 2009, or at the least, since I ran my two 50-milers in 2010. Since then, I haven’t committed to anything but the loosest of training plans, and I’ve run my races just to finish them. “I deserve a break,” I’ve let myself believe. And maybe I did.

But this isn’t me. If nothing else, this anxiety is a sign that the break is over. It takes work and effort and discipline to do more than this, but that work used to be the reward.

Like the semester in college when I first took it upon myself to get in shape — getting up early every day to hit the gym before classes. Following my first fitness program (Body for Life) to a tee, flat-out refusing to eat anything but the approved foods unless it was my once-weekly cheat day. I remember that semester as one of the happiest times in my life, and I’m coming to believe that is wasn’t the results I was getting that made me so happy, but the discipline itself that was so fulfilling.

Same with training to qualify for Boston. Sure, the memories of actually qualifying are wonderful. But the memories of the work are the best ones, the defining ones. And without the work, things fall apart.

You need to rediscover that discipline.

Running (or more generally, fitness) is just one area. When I look at my relationships, I know I need to do the same. I can be a better husband, one who my wife can lean on for support. And I need to fully embrace being a dad, and to stop resenting the fact that having a child means more responsibilities, which sometimes means I can’t do the things I used to. When I was a kid.

I could go on and on. But in the other areas of my life, the story is the same — a lack of discipline, either in action or in thought. In the moment it’s the path of least resistance, but the path ultimately leads to a place of pain.

It’s time to grow up, dude.

Make no mistake. I’m not wallowing in self-pity here or being overly hard on myself. I know I’m a good husband, a great dad, a pretty fit guy who eats very healthily, and extremely proud to do what I love for a living … but I also know I can be  more. I need to be more. I owe it to myself and the people I love to be more.

I know I don’t usually write about topics like this. Partly because they’re personal, but mainly because I never want this blog to become a place for me to air my dirty laundry. But I’m comfortable writing this today because my mindset has already begun to shift. I’ve already begun to change.

But mostly, I’m writing this because I bet there’s somewhere in your life where you could stand to grow up. I’m hoping to help you see it.

Turning pro

I believe that this discrepancy between where I am and where I want to be is the underlying cause of all of my anxiety. I think that by growing up — by “turning pro,” if you will — in my hobbies, my relationships, my business — the anxiety will eventually wither away into nothing.

Turning Pro isn’t my phrase, but I’ve adopted it as my mantra for the year. It’s the title of a book by Steven Pressfield, his followup to the War of Art. I’ve read it twice since I bought it on December 30th, after having the ah-ha moment where I realized that the same issue underlies all the areas in my life where I’m feeling the pressure to change. I think it’ll become something of a bible for me this year. (Not an affiliate link, by the way.)

But how do you go about making such pervasive, yet really sort of nebulous, changes?

I’m not sure. This is new to me.  But I think I have a good plan.

Goals are supposed to be specific. How do I know, specifically, once I’ve beaten anxiety? Grown up? Turned pro? It’s not as cut and dry as a goal like  learning to play the main riff of Smells like Teen Spirit on the guitar.

But I can set specific goals in each of the areas where I’m lacking discipline. (So can you.)

I can set a specific goal of carving out time each week for a date night with my wife. I can set a goal to run a 100-miler.

The only way to achieve these goals, of course, is to be disciplined. (Remember the real reason for setting goals?)

Each of these goals, and I’ve got a bunch of them, will require their own habits. Getting up earlier. Following a training schedule. Writing every day. Making sure there’s time each day for uninterrupted fun with my little boy. Changing the way I think.

Of course, there’s still the issue of how to take on so many new habits. I’m a firm believer in taking on only one habit at a time. But then to look at all the habits I’ve got to change, one at a time, is overwhelming. Patience is good, but too often, I’ve laid out plans for creating a bunch of changes over time, only to lose steam a few weeks in.

I have a solution.

Enter the meta-habit

My solution is to create a meta-habit. A habit about habits, one that will ensure that I don’t give up on creating positive changes and introducing new disciplines into my life.  A system to make sure that I don’t lose motivation, or just plain forget to keep improving.

Years ago, I used to have a long commute to grad school, and every day I’d listen to something motivational the entire time. It was great for me. I craved it, and I’d read personal development books too before I went to bed.

I remember telling myself, “As long as I keep listening to and reading this stuff, there’s no way I could get off track.” That flood of inspiration each day is just too much for anything negative to stand up to long enough to affect me.

But now, I don’t have that commute anymore. And over time, especially since No Meat Athlete has become a full-time gig and I’ve become a parent, I’ve let demands on my time prevent me from reading these types of books too. And I think that’s where I’ve gone wrong.

So I’ve committed to a single habit that I will do every single day this year, without fail, a habit that (if my plan works) will keep me motivated to create the others.

That habit is to read or listen to something positive, inspirational, or instructional for an hour a day. Every day. No exceptions.

I’m sure this habit isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t respond to motivational and inspirational books and audiobooks the way I do, I know. Some people find them cheesy. That’s cool.

But is there a single habit that you could commit to that would serve the same purpose for you? Something that, as long as you kept it up, would keep you energized and excited to make more and bigger changes?

I bet if you think hard enough, you’ll find it. Maybe your meta-habit is meditating or yoga or running or painting or writing or having tea with your spouse every day. You’ll know when you’ve hit on the right one, because it’ll give you a feeling of certainty. That if you could only keep up this one habit (and you can, here’s how), you’d have nothing else to worry about. Because it would take care of the rest for you.

January 1st has passed. Another year of your life is gone. And before you know it, this one will be over too. My challenge to you — before another day goes by — is to find the place where you need to grow up and turn pro. And then do it.

I hope you’ll join me.

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Comments

  1. This was the first thing I read when I woke up this morning, and it really made an impression on me.

    I’m in the middle of Steven Pressfield’s ‘Turning Pro’ right now—and I know there are several areas of my life where I need to ‘turn pro’ as well.

    But growing up isn’t easy, as you obviously know. It’s not easy to take on more responsibilities. I don’t have kids, but I will someday, and I’ve already found myself resenting how they’ll rob me of my freedom and spontaneity. That’s got to stop. It’s not easy to be a better husband, or, in my case, a better wife. It’s not easy to make goals and stick to them, whether they’re fitness related or have to do with other areas of your life.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Matt. I’m sure there are so many people who can relate, and I’m one of them. Best of luck and courage in your year of turning pro.

    I’m going to finish the book… then do the same.

  2. Matt,

    This is a great post! It’s so funny, because I actually reached the exact same conclusion this New Years. I felt huge anxiety and finally surmised that the best way for me to overcome the anxiety (or rather, float above the anxiety and watch it dissipate), was to spend an hour each day praying, writing, and reading spiritual literature (i.e., the Bible, self-help books, feminist literature, etc.).

    We have very different lives. You’re married with a child (soon to be children), working a gig you love, and living in NC. I’m single (no children), working a gig I don’t love as a stop-gap til grad school, and living in Northern Virginia. But I think the fact that we recognized the same condition and the same solution means that you’re on to something applicable/relevant to a lot of different people.

    Best of luck to you this year!

  3. Love this post. It is such a great expression of what I believe so many people feel, and what the underlying problem for so many of us (including me!) is. I also read that book in the past month, after having read War of Art this summer, and it is incredibly illuminating and inspiring. My meta-habit is 20 minutes of meditation every single day. Sometimes that may be in one go, sometimes it may be split 10 and 10, but when I take time in the morning or at night to clear my head and build the relationship between my mind and body, pretty much everything else becomes clear and I remember that consciously breathing and being present can pretty much solve anything. Thank you for sharing your story and your commitment. It matters.

  4. This is a fantastic post – it’s like reading what I would have (should have?) written about myself. Your story feels so familiar, from the grad school to the running for the fun of it recently, to the need to grow up. It is indeed an overwhelming task to bring focus back to one’s life after letting it go for a while. Hopefully there is benefit to both, but your anxiety and mine would tend to discount that theory, at least in our cases. Keep up the good writing – you are, somewhat ironically, writing what seems to be the beginning to an awesome self-help book.

  5. Hi Matt – Thank you for being so honest. It sounds cheesey, but my motto is “Do it!” Yes, very similar to the Nike commercial. If I’ve been procrastinating and shuffling my feet, my timeline for letting myself *not* do what I said I would has gotten very short. It’s almost like I have a short temper at myself – I look at myself and say “Just do it already, I’m tired of feeling guilty about this!” I try not to get into name calling, but that little bit of frustration fuels my fire to get done whatever I’ve been putting off. Now, if you don’t have that feeling of frustration with yourself, then this wouldn’t work, but if you didn’t feel frustration, you wouldn’t be writing this post :) I like the metagoal. I think mine is probably exercising in the morning, or writing. I love writing and I’m terrified of failing, so that’s my big goal for the year. Happy 2013!

  6. Loved your message today! I also (though only for the month of January) set a goal to read or listen or watch something related to running or being vegan every day for inspiration.

    Bought the Marathon Road Map for my son and I to share…he’s 16 and training for his first
    marathon. (OK City Memorial Marathon in April) We are really enjoying it. Thanks.

  7. Interesting. One things about us runners is that we get bored easily. We train and run a marathon, get the high and all that, then it’s like “hmmm, what next?” Variety is the spice of life. My daughter is 21 and I would give anything to have those young years again. During that time is was 90% taking care of her and 10% finding time to run. Enjoy them. Being in my later 40s I think the time has come to finally do something different with my life. But I always enjoy being silly and being a kid. So don’t grow up too much. Our kids also have a wayu of making us adults look at life differently, so listen and watch your kids. They’ll surprise you with their intelligenec and insight. I’m rambling. So Happy 2013.

    • Much agreed, Larry. In the end, what else is there to life than to just enjoy it? That’s not to say I don’t recognize these feelings of anxiety, the fear of slacking off, etc. But I think to always try pushing yourself that little further in the end is just exhausting. We’re all good enough persons as we are, right?

  8. Your post got me thinking – there are similarities in my own life, although I doubt I’m alone in that. Just like this. Here’s something inspirational for you to watch today.

  9. Great post. I think I need to find this Turning Pro book. I’ve thought of myself as a “grown-up” for many years now, because I have a mortgage and a job and a car and a great credit score. But there are times when I wonder what I’m doing, big-picture-wise, and maybe that’s because I haven’t really grown up yet. Good luck on this journey, Matt; I’m looking forward to reading about your progression.

  10. Thank you for this post! I need to rediscover my discipline as well and reading posts like this sure do help. Thank you for being candid and inspirational!

  11. Matt, on July 13 my wife Stephanie (who, coincidentally is a professional coach and teaches and lectures about goal setting) was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was training for the NYC marathon and put that aside to make sure that every spare moment I had would be devoted to ensuring that I’d be able to get her anything she needed during her treatment, a long, painful and arduous process. Both of us are runners, vegan and live a healthy and active lifestyle. You can’t outrun your genes, ultimately although you can limit the damage that living in a processed world like ours inflicts. Steph’s very deliberate acts of setting goals during this difficult time – such as, “today I’m going to go for a walk around the park,” or “I will appreciate today the things I took for granted yesterday” sound very similar to the process you went through, are going through. It’s fantastic that you can step outside yourself to see this – and to see both the positive and negative aspects of your mental state and behavior. Setting goals becomes a habit, and the body and mind react very favorably to this. When you have had a certain number of days behind you, the past becomes this amorphous cloud, and the future looks very uncertain. I wish you much luck on your journey. Feel free to contact me regarding articles and books that can be of help to you and your blog readers. And thank you for being so open and honest with feelings most of us would rather put aside and not deal with. Happy New Year!

    David

    • Hi David – could you share some of what you are reading or doing with your wife? My husband and I are in our early 30s, distance runners and vegetarians, and last month he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He’ll be having his first surgery in two weeks and I am very nervous. I have found one good yoga meditation book and am using yogavibes.com to in increase my practice and diversify… That’s my goal at the moment: at least a bit of yoga each day.

      • Amanda,

        Sorry to not get to this sooner but I’ve been traveling. I spoke with Steph and she said anything that you can do to create positive energy with your husband will be beneficial – no playbook is required. Breathing “exercises” you do together,out with negative bad energy and in with clean and vibrant colors and energy – this helped her a lot. Creating new habits that you both look forward to post-surgery (when he’s in a good place to consider such) can be very beneficial to your husband as well. Healing takes time and requires a good deal of energy from your body. Steph and I both read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/1400069289) and found it very interesting/enlightening, Although we have not practiced this, there are many people that I know who are incorporating ayurvedic medicine into their lives (see, e.g., http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda). You and your husband will be in our prayers for a full and speedy recovery.

        David & Stephanie

  12. Matt-Thank you so much for sharing your “very similar” story. I hope you find the support you deserve within your posts. I imagine that there are thousands of of people just like me who have found a comfortable home within NMA and your tons of useful information, rants, and everything in between. Honestly, this is the ONLY blog I have any interest in, and I thank you for keeping it strong and energized (and useful!).
    I too have recently hit that very same wall. I tried to blame it on winter, darker hours, holiday excess, or my successful PR in the ATM/then a week later followed by an injury driven non-Boston qualifying time in the MCM that I had trained for all year. I have not run since that awful Sunday. Whatever it may be, I have no motivation. I find myself now and again having a few too many beers, I’ve gained weight, and I’m beginning to wonder if I can ever can get out of this funk. I used to call myself a competitive runner…now I’ve nearly forgotten what that means. I pray you find your mojo, and wish you much success with growing up. Keep writing the good stuff, I look forward to growing with you ( & NMA)!!!

  13. Joelle McCartie says:

    Thank you for posting your story. I found it truly inspirational! I love it when people are honest about the ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ periods of their lives because we all have them and theres comfort in knowing we are not alone. I get the same feeling listening to or reading motivational words. They are a good reminder that we are in control of our thoughts and at any moment we can choose the more positive outlook!
    Thanks again and all the best on your journey.

  14. I do not post much, but felt compelled to do so upon reading your blog about the challenges you are facing. As most people said, I think it is refreshing to post things that are “real” and “honest” – not that other posts are not genuine, but when we all realize that the vast majority of us are dealing with some form of anxiety, addiction, stress, etc. it gives us all a space to reflect. I am a father of 2 kids and love them more than anything, and I also get so frustrated at being a parent some days, or a husband, etc. What is this? How can we feel such devotion and love, while also feeling trapped and stuck? I really liked how you hit upon the concept of discipline and that, as I read it, the joy is more so in the journey – the outcome is just the result. I watched the documentary “Running Across the Sahara” – and it has inspired me to run, everyday, even if just for a few miles – but to find a journey and simply do it. Thanks for your blog. I look forward to getting your material about how to run a marathon on a Vegan diet. Best wishes. Peace

  15. Great post, Matt. Much of it resonates with me, and I especially liked the insights about the connection between happiness and discipline, and about anxiety being caused by the disconnect between where we are and where we want to be. As someone who’s anxious about doing the work required to finish up grad school, this is definitely inspirational and thought-provoking stuff.

    And thanks for tipping us off about Turning Pro. I loved The War of Art but didn’t know he wrote a follow-up book.

  16. Matt, I can’t thank you enough for writing and sharing this. I’m at a place where I feel like I’m on the cusp of some big changes and accomplishments, but in order to get to them, I need to follow a similar path as you’ve described here. I wish you the best with your year of ‘Turning Pro’ and thanks for all you offer to the rest of us along the way!

  17. It’s funny to me that everywhere I turn these days messages like yours seem to have sprung up like weeds through a crack in the sidewalk, messages about changing, rising from mediocrity, calls to positive action. It’s funny because I’m sure that these messages have been here all along, but I’ve had a change in focus and mindset that have allowed me to see them. Matt: I stumbled upon your site while I was surfing the web looking for vegan recipes as part of my own attempts to grow the heck up. And you’re right. There’s progress (the haphazard kind that’s noticeable but not as quick or efficient as it should be) and then there’s PROGRESS (the consistent kind, the boring kind, the kind that requires laying the same number of bricks on the ground every day until the proverbial tower is built). I don’t know if I can mention podcasts on here, but listening to positive podcasts has really helped me to change my thought processes. Let me know if you’d like to hear about a few good ones, and Happy New Year!!!!!

  18. Matt- thanks so much for this post. It is just what I needed. I, too, have been feeling what I would call more an “unsettled” than anxious feeling but after reading your post have realized that I need to get back to working on my personal devopment as well. Thanks for sharing and helping me have my ah-ha moment!
    Best of luck. Oh would you consider posting some of your favorite self-help/motivational books/CDs. Thanks

  19. Great Post! Moved and inspired by your transparency. Have a great and succesful year growing up- aka “turning pro”.

  20. Great article Matt, appreciate it at this time of life/year. Renewal.

  21. Really interesting. I hadn’t thought about anxiety in this way before. But, y’know, I think you may be onto something! At the age of 37, it may indeed be time for me to grow up. Happy New Year!

  22. Starlette says:

    Matt,
    Thank you so much for this post. I know you typically stay away from personal topics but I’m so glad you shared. This information and knowledge that someone else has my same issue of not yet going pro is more beneficial than you know. I look forward to reading your posts in 2013.
    My best to you and your family,
    Starlette

  23. I think meditation would help me a lot, but I tend to lack patience, and I always feel like I am doing it wrong. Then I read somewhere to just breathe. Don’t make your breathing be a certain way – just notice it for a few breaths, bring your attention back to it if your mind wanders, and that is the start of meditation. So I’ve been doing that: 10 acknowledged breaths a day. I’ve noticed that sometimes I do not want to stop… I want to sit there for another few breaths, and then another few. So that is a habit I want to continue.

  24. This is an amazing post and as the commenters above me have already stated, everything you’ve written about resonates with your readers. I agree that being disciplined is what relieves anxiety, I am the same way. I had a similar revelation to what you’ve written about in January 2012, I spent the last year becoming more disciplined and focused and making changes and forming new habits. I’ve never felt better! Thanks for this blog and your honesty, I always look forward to a new post from you.

  25. Thank you, and YES. I have been on the same path, although it is taking me through different terrain, and I have reached the same conclusion as you have. Late last year, after I had completed a big personal goal, I undertook a “meta-habit” (thank you for giving it a name!) of daily writing. It is so important to me, and at the same time I wonder, who is this person who is willingly getting up at 5:30 every day to do this?! I am considering other big projects alongside this daily discipline, which has been enormously and disproportionately rewarding considering my actual output. And, funny, I am re-reading War of Art and will definitely pick up Turning Pro. Grow up — yes. I think I am finally doing that.
    Thank you for sharing your journey, Matt, and all good wishes to you.

  26. Thank you for sharing. It definitely hit home & daily inspiration does help me also. Let me amend my goals. Happy New Year

  27. Great post! Growing up and turning pro in the way that you describe it are applicable to all things in life. Once I discovered that decades ago, it opened up a whole new world to me. I’m now retired, and still use the same mindset because it makes things happen. There are two kinds of people, those who make things happen; and those who wonder what happened? There is much preparing and work behind the scenes that makes the victory sweeter. Andy

  28. Gill Ewing says:

    Thank you for posting this piece Matt. It’s not easy to open out to the world in this way but your pieces often feel very personal, like chatting with a really good friend. I have passed the link on to my son, who is in a difficult part of his own life just now and who might find inspiration in what you say. My meta-habit is a daily run – and I got that idea from you earlier this year! It’s making a huge difference to my day and I’m grateful to you for posting on this topic.
    I’m sure you’ll find your way forward now you’ve sorted out what’s to be done and how to go about it. Best of luck!

  29. What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing what you have shared -and your thoughts on moving forward.
    ‘Turning pro’ (or “grow[ing] the hell up”, as you also called it, and which has that kick-in-the-pants ring to it that works for me) is a great idea. I have resolved to live more deliberately -that’s the same thing, I think? -this year. We don’t have control over everything in our lives (injuries/poor health, families, jobs that may not be ideal, the weather, giant meteors hurtling toward the earth, …), but we have some control over the choices we make, how we live from moment to moment with those we love, and how we treat ourselves physically and spiritually. I especially appreciated your idea of not letting yourself off of the hook -just something that resonates personally.

    Best wishes to you and yours in the coming days, months and years ahead!

  30. Matt, thank you for this uplifting and reality based blog. I’m glad you shared more of you with us in that I felt I could relate better. My husband has made great changes to improve himself and I’m waddling behind him. Your growing up piece was really helpful. I’m writing this comment as a beginning to my making changes and growing up. Discipline and meta habits are good starters and I too want and need to read inspirational materials daily. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Thank you for this wonderful posting. Last year was a horrible year for me as I watched my dad, the most inspirational athlete I’ve ever known, slip away over the course of nine months. One day at the age of 84 riding full-on 50 milers, the next, unable to stand without passing out and ultimately dying 9 months later. Seven weeks before his death I found the practice of “laughing mediations”. I believe it saved my life. I laughed (you fake it till you make it) through grief, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome and found my way to a healed brain on the other side. In the mean-time I lost 25 pounds (healthily), became a vegan after reading “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer, and am beginning training for my first marathon. I have also committed to writing a book that has been rolling around in my head for the past few years – so this year I will take on the discipline of a daily writing practive. Any tips are grealty appreciated :) Starting at the new year I’ve added a morning tradition to my routine. I begin each day with 30 minutes of laughing meditation, water, honey and lemon and write 5 things I am grateful for. This is followed by walking out the door for my morning work-out. Last year the committment to change one thing, laughing on the way to work in the car, changed my life. This year is an extention of that practice. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of daily discipline. Thank you Thank you Thank you. Wishing you a successful year with your goals and can’t wait to check out On Turning Pro.

  32. Great post Matt, love the thoughts and wish you the best of success in “turning pro” this year. This is the same attitude I’m adopting to blogging/coaching – finally laying down the commitments to do all the things I know I should be doing to make it a bigger success – guest posting, etc. Thanks for providing a framework and mantra for getting out and doing it.

  33. Hey Matt,

    I too would like to say thank you for posting this. I have been having a hard time with all this growing up stuff. I graduated in the spring, got a job teaching and that made me feel like I made it. But then I quickly realized that I was just at the door and the real work of growing up had just begun. I’ve been very anxious and lost all confidence, about myself as a teacher, and in general. I do agree that the discipline aspect of happiness is profound. The guilt I feel when I am not disciplined is pervasive and only sends me down the road of laziness until I have to shake myself and get over it. I thought I was the only one, which made it worse. But seeing your post, with helpful insight, and the comments of your readers, really makes me feel like I can get through it.
    Thank you. I’m going to read those books as part of my meta-habit too!

  34. Dale Holmes says:

    Matt,

    Thank you for sharing your personal story.

    At the end of the day we are all just human beings doing the best we can with what we’ve got to work with in an often very difficult and challenging world.

    So whenever I get down or worried about the future, and I do, it helps me break the “negative mental spiral” by reminding myself to refocus on the things I have to be grateful for.

    Sure, this might sound simplistic or even Pollyanna, but, much to the contrary, it factually speaks to our profoundest gift as human beings, namely, “Our Freedom of Creative Thought”.

    Further, I don’t very much enjoy who I am when I take my life for granted. C’mon, let’s be real, I can get my panty hose all in a knot when my rent goes up $25/month, while there are factually more than a million people who live on the streets of Bombay and sleep in cardboard boxes and beg for scraps. My worst day ever would be there best day ever; and that’s for real!
    ***
    I’m big on morning rituals to get my day started in the right frame of mind. Since I save my leisure reading for evenings, in the morning I have some songs I like to play on Youtube.
    Here’s some of my favorites: ( Just Google “positive upbeat songs” and choose your own.)

    Preferred Dress: Socks and underwear.

    Warm-up:
    1. Accentuate the Positive — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjp-JXZneyo

    Perspective:
    2. Don’t Worry, Be Happy — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU

    Refocus:

    3. I Can See Clearly Now — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzGV9Bl6CGg

    Time to Feel It!

    4, I’m Walking on Sunshine — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPUmE-tne5U&list=PLEC996B49D9E7360C&index=16

    5.. You Should be Dancing — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JoZS6LgqYI

    6. Bright Side of the Road — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVQ9R2kSFRg

    7. My Sharona — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVdnqEyToqg

    8. Cherry Bomb — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF0gsbQKhD8

    9. Dancing in the Streets — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CAHDI_vkSs&list=PLEC996B49D9E7360C

    ***

    Want to be a great coach, teacher, mentor?

    Become a great storyteller!

    Want to become a great storyteller?

    Start with your “Why.”
    Because fulfilling our deepest values is what keeps us motivated and “on task.”

    Here’s some theory:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA

    All the best for 2013, Matt!

    Dale Holmes

    P.S. Now whataya say, let’s go blow the doors off some carnivores!

  35. I appreciate your honesty Matt. I am a mom of 4 children who range in age from 11-18. Life has been very hectic for many years and I have to remind myself to keep first things first. Where I put my money determines my interest and where I put my time and value is what I will have in the end. It is a constant battle in my mind and with my actions to keep the pecking order with my husband, our kids, my career, my running, housework, etc. in the right order. And I certainly flub up a lot. It is easy to turn to running because it is controllable and it is mine and it doesn’t talk back. As athletes, i think we tie our achievements very close to our worth. When we make that workout or cross the finish line we feel good. So for me, it isn’t so much a case of growing up as it is understanding MY worth not because of what i do but because I am me. It is realizing that there is more to life than my PR’s. Running makes us very goal oriented and we cannot use this same method with people so we get easily impatient and frustrated. Athletics and healthy living is soo important but they should not be the main component in our fulfillment tank. So my question for myself and everyone else is ” Are we running to something or are we running away from something?”

  36. Hello to everyone who commented here (or send me an email) in response to this post! (over 3 weeks ago, now…)

    First, I really appreciate your taking the time to reply. I got an overwhelming number of personal emails in response, and to call it touching would be putting it lightly.

    I would love to be able to respond to every email and comment I got on this post personally (and I’ve been telling myself for the past 3 weeks that I was going to try), but I’ve realized with my book deadline looming that it’s just not going to happen.

    So here’s what I’m going to do, as a very tiny gesture of thanks.

    Tomorrow night — that’s Thursday, January 31st, from 8pm to 9pm Eastern — I’m going to host a video chat on Vokle for an hour. I’m only sending the link to you all, the people who commented on this particular post or emailed me about it, so I don’t think it should be too crowded.

    So I hope you’ll come hang out, and if you have any questions, whether about the topic of the post or just running, vegan food, etc., you’ll be able to type them in and I’ll answer as many as I can in an hour. And if there aren’t a lot of questions, I’ll talk about the habits I’ve been working on and what changes I’ve made so far this year.

    The link for the webinar is here: http://www.vokle.com/events/82260-no-meat-athlete-hangout (You’ll need a free Vokle account to come, but it’s really quick to set one up.)

    Hope you can come hang out! And if you can’t make it, please know that I’m extremely grateful for the time and attention that you spend reading my stuff online. :)

    Thanks!

    Matt

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Meat Athlete’s “On Turning Pro” has some great suggestions about growing up and being successful with [...]

  2. [...] week I’m branching out.  I recently read this article from No Meat Athlete:  On Turning Pro.  (Go check it out, he makes some exceptional points).  One thing I took away from the article [...]

  3. [...] Especially in wanting more time. I made my list of priorities yesterday. Today, I read a great post that made me rethink my list. I think I was short-changing myself with my list and I’d like [...]

  4. [...] around you.  People that want to help you stick to your goals in life, people who know how hard it is to stick to goals, people who won’t take no for an answer, and people who just want to give simplifying habits [...]

  5. [...] thank you to Matt Frazier from No Meat Athlete for turning me on to this. His epic post – On Turning Pro – introduced me to the idea of a meta habit, or anchor habit as my friend Taylor and I refer [...]

  6. [...] On Turning Pro – Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete [...]

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