A Lion in Iron: Time, It is All You Have (Part 3)

TAGS: the first, the day, starting, plans, It's All You Have (Part 3), A Lion in Iron: Time, 24 hours, beginning, progress, goals, time, program

It's October 1, 2013, as I write this. I didn’t fully intend to write a Part Three of this series of articles, but it felt unfinished. I wrote first about the value of longevity, and then I discussed the value of the moment. However, that still left the one thing that really gets counted—the single day. And today is the first of the month.

The first of any month is usually a “big deal” of some sort. It may be important from a business/financial standpoint, or it may be because it is the start of a training block. However, it also marks the start of a season, the end of a season, and the end of a cycle. So, my point is that the “first” always has a significant connotation to it.

Human beings like to start things on the first. It's number one after all—why not have it be the genesis? Yet, as I think of this, I can't help but recall how much time people close to me have wasted simply by waiting for the right day to start. That in and of itself makes the idea of the first of the month carrying so much weight seem completely ridiculous.

Any day can be the first day of something. I mean, you can plan out years and live for moments, but those things don’t mean a damn thing if you never start. You have the day—you have every day, so make it the first day of something.

Think about it: you can build weeks and months and years towards moments. And you’ll remember those moments and remember everything that went into reaching it, but it can’t start without that first day. Seriously, you can’t hit 100 mph if you haven’t yet gone 10, and you can’t sprint if you can’t walk. The process leading towards that rush, that moment, that speed...it still happens with the sunrise and the sunset.

Both ways of thinking can have their pitfalls. You can plan so far ahead and be so attached to a plan, but when that day comes when you have to actually adapt it...well, you end up refusing out of fear for jeopardizing the outcome. Conversely, you can want the outcome to happen so badly that you believe that you can force it through willpower...but then it implodes when your will runs it.

However, you have the day. And it will be those days added upon themselves that end up being counted. You want something, you have the desire, and you don’t force it to happen. You put it together piece by piece.

Back in March, I hit a 500-pound deadlift for the first time. I was thrilled with it, and a friend of mine asked what my next step was.

“Five-hundred and one”  was my answer.

He looked confused for a second, and I told him that 501 pounds was more than 500 pounds. We both laughed about it then, but the words had weight. Five-hundred and one is more than 500.

What I did today in training brought me one step closer to where I want to be. I am closer than I was yesterday but still farther from tomorrow. However, tomorrow I will be closer still. Day-in and day-out...that’s how I’m counting it.

Plans will change, but a sound system of training, thoughts, and beliefs cannot and should not be undone by a single bad day. A day gives you 24 hours to get something done. And you can get something done. You might also fail at it, and that may make you think that you wasted a day. But I will tell you that a bad day still counts. If you are going to fail, then fail forward. Hell, fail spectacularly! Spectacular failure teaches you a lot. Fail at it, but then put it back together better than it was before. Use that lesson learned for the next day

Have you ever listened to someone who has accomplished something tremendous, sporting or otherwise? It’s not uncommon to hear them talk about their lowest point—that one day (or days) when it didn’t seem worth. Yet, they kept going, sunrise to sunset, and they got to where they wanted to be.

So don’t wait. Don’t bide time thinking that there will be a right time...because there won’t be. And it’s going to come down to that day—that first day—and the day when you want it to be the last. You’ll spend however long on something, and you’ll hit that point of frustration or fatigue, that point where your willpower will run out and you will want to say to hell with it. Maybe you get injured, or maybe you bomb out in the meet. Maybe the scale hasn’t moved or the numbers have barely changed. Maybe you never get there at all and you just miss a weight you were supposed to hit. Fuck it—it's all discouraging. You can list endless reasons why we all say to hell with it.

Where’s the willpower to force it then? What happened to the grand plan that was supposed to take you there but appears to be failing?

Plans can be changed, but will is finite. So long as you are alive, you always have another day. Don’t let the bad day be the last day. Don’t wait on the stars to align in the misguided belief that a perfect day exists that should be first. Every day can be that day if you choose it to be. Start something, finish something, and learn from something.

And above all else, use the day. Use the time that you have because ultimately, it is all you have.

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