Written by Josh Bridges
As people, we tend to move like water. What I mean by that is we tend to seek the path of least resistance. Many times this is a wise choice, but I am not so sure that we should apply this principle to some of the most important aspects of our lives – our health, fitness, relationships, parenting, etc…. Let me give you a few examples.
When my workout buddies throw out ideas for workouts, somebody will often ask – “should we do 4 or 5 rounds?” Normally he will look over at me or the other guys with a little smirk on his face knowing damn well we’re going to do 5 rounds. But he asks to give someone a chance to take the easy route that day. And of course, if someone takes the easy route they’re going to be in for a hard time for at least a week by everyone who heard him avoid the tough route. It is a good thing to have buddies like this for things in life, keeps you in check.
If I am out somewhere and there is a choice between stairs or elevator, you better be certain that I am taking those stairs. Let me catch you taking an elevator in the mall to go up one floor. Oh man it would make my day! You wouldn’t hear the end of it for at least a week. Unless of course you have a baby stroller – then and only then are you off the hook, but still weak in my eyes. ☺
Going out to eat, when you just went grocery shopping the day before is another example of taking the easy way out. I am sure you had a long day at the office and now you just don’t feel like preparing anything. I have had this feeling many nights, but taking the easy way out certainly isn’t going to be the best option for your health.
Blaming “time” is another favorite excuse for those that want to seek the easy way out. But we all have the same 24 hours in our days; what we do with those hours is a choice. You can choose to take the easy route, or you can choose to take the path that leads you closer to your goals.
When I was preparing myself for the military I took full advantage of every opportunity to help myself. I would do sets of pushups during commercials when I was watching a game on television. If I walked past a pull-up bar you better believe I was hopping on for at least a few. Why drive to work when you can ride your bike 26 miles? Oh, and when I bought a mountain bike you think that thing had gears? Please, single speed baby!! Anything that would help better myself for my goals was all I cared about.
When you have goals, you have something to strive for. This is another topic that we will address in a later article. For now, let’s keep you thinking about making a conscious decision to do the right thing, not the easy thing. You know that saying when someone tells you to do something crappy and then says “it builds character,” well they are right. Consistently taking the hard route becomes a habit that helps to ward off weakness. It helps you grow stronger as a person, athlete, mother, father, student, employee, etc….
There are tons of scenarios in your life that you can either choose to help yourself or to take the easy way out.
The best example of someone who chooses the right way instead of the easy way is my wife. Talk about a person taking the hard route, she marries a man that she knows wants to join the military to dangerous things on a daily basis; gives him the best son in the world knowing she is going to have to raise this boy basically as a single mother; oh and let’s not forget giving him his 90 pound wolf dog that is a handful, to say the least. She never complains about it, and makes sure he has a warm meal ready on the occasion that he gets to stop by the “motel” that others might call his home. She didn’t have to take this route in life. She could have walked away the minute I put the idea in her ear, but she didn’t. I thank the good Lord for her everyday. I have been with Erin since I was 18 years old and I can say that I have seen her grow and become the woman that she is today. I think who she is has a lot to do with the route in life she chose to take.
The easy things in life are not worth doing, because everyone can do them. It is the hard stuff that is worth your time and effort. Look at professional athletes for example. These guys and gals have made countless sacrifices to achieve their goals in life. You think these people roll out of bed and are magically great at their sport? They have paid the price of sweat, blood and failures that they get up from time and time again. They poured their souls into their respective sport, and it wasn’t the easy route that got them there.
What I am basically getting at is taking the hard route can really suck in the short term, but it is only going to make you stronger in the long run. So the next time you’re in the gym and you pick up that barbell, put a little extra weight on it. If you’re doing some conditioning work, add another round from time to time. What’s the worst that can happen from it, you wake up a little bit stronger tomorrow? That doesn’t sound like the worst thing to me. Apply this to the rest of your life as well and it will make a world of difference.