Today’s post is a really cool spec ops trick you can use for faster results and certainly for lasting results.
It’s late Friday night and I’m sitting in the Denver Airport waiting for my next flight. I just spent 2 weeks in California and my next week is going to be in Costa Rica.
I figured I had better write this now because I’m not sure how good my connections will be when I get there.
I’m learning to surf. It’s going to be a challenge, nothing like some that I’ve faced but more on that in a second…
I’m always up for new challenges and to be honest, the thought of riding a wave produced by mother nature, in a tropical location, is pretty appealing.
Being away from home for 3 weeks takes some getting used to…I think the last time I was away this long for this many consecutive days I was living in a trench eating MRE’s (meals ready to eat).
Fortunately, over the last two weeks I was able to find a gym and get my routine established and still get my training done.
This is what I wanted to write to you about, sort of…
Listen, I know the biggest challenge is achieving your goal, whatever that might be, but it doesn’t have to be.
For some it’s a body composition transformation, for others it is changing the shape of their body, while others just want some functionality to improve their quality of life and be pain free.
All of that is great, but sometimes it can seem like it’s a long way off, like you will never get there.
Let me share a quick story with you.
Now, I have been through some harrowing life events, people may refer to these sometimes as Crucible events…life challenges…an event where you test your limits.
I have had a number of these in my life, from Army Basic Training to Battle School to my Basic Para course and later in life my Basic SWAT Operator course.
These are all tests that I managed to navigate successfully…using a strategy I will share with you in a moment.
Of these tests the most challenging physically was my Basic SWAT course, not because of the actual physical demands, but because my body had turned to shit and I was struggling to regain my once elite level of fitness.
Fortunately, and maybe to my detriment, I don’t know how to quit, either in short term or long term challenges.
Day 1 of my basic SWAT course started out the same as they always do…
Two or three rounds of a circuit of weights and bodyweight training in the gym, 40 seconds on 20 seconds to move to the next station (and you had better run!) followed by 1, 2 or 3 ERT Loops of a lake.
ERT Loops are a run that consists of various activities along the way.
It was in my head.
I can push weight all day long, but running is something I had to teach myself to do, and the makeup of the team in 2005 was guys who preferred running over lifting..(more on that in another message).
Anyway, we get about 600 meters into our first run…and it is a run, there’s no jogging…. and I start puking on myself.
One of the hardest things to do is puke and run (sorry if that’s grossing you out) but two things are going horribly wrong in that moment.
One is the fact I can’t breathe and two is the fact that I am drawing attention to myself. Believe me the second is much worse.
As we round the corner the cat calling starts and they wonder if I’m going to quit and they are yelling in my face to get me to stop…but I don’t know how.
What I do have the ability to do, and what I want to share with you, is that I am able to focus on micro goals.
When pain sets in and chaos begins to rear its ugly head, I am able to immediately break things down into ½ to 1 second intervals.
It goes something like this… air in, breathe, one step, breathe, next step, breathe and so on and so on and the next thing you know those next steps, literally one after the other, turn into 5 or 6 miles.
Here’s why micro goals are such an effective tool.
They force you to be in the present, to connect to what’s happening to you in your immediate reality.
This is important because once you are present, you can begin to have a conversation and prioritize what’s important.
There is no need to go beyond the immediate present or to go into self shaming or loathing.
Instead you immediately recognize what’s happening, take extreme ownership of the situation and begin to implement a plan that will lead you to success.
If it is getting off the couch and you know you should be going to train then your trigger should be a phrase…STAND UP! or in my case…MOVE
If an interval is kicking your ass and you want to stop breaking down each phase of the movement in your mind…DOWN…UP! or whatever the case may be.
Don’t look beyond what’s happening right in that moment. There is no need.
These easily attainable immediate small goals have a significant impact.
It is a self created sense of urgency which leads to an overwhelming sense of accomplishment, which in turn leads to a MAJOR boost in confidence.
This is a SPEC Ops trick that is very applicable to the real world…we have used it not only on long operations but even in simple things such as stoppages in a weapon.
It also helps if someone you love or trust can remind you what you’re capable of, I did it with my team members all the time when they struggled on an operation, or on the range or with a relationship.
I went home after the first week of my Basic SWAT course absolutely shit kicked…I stared at the phone and wondered if I should make the call and shut it down.
I spoke with my wife, who reminded me what I was capable of…I returned the following week and never looked back. I was able to finish as the top candidate and went on to lead the team for nearly 4 years.
Break it down, keep it simple and you can achieve anything.