Screw It & Do It

[Photo Credit]

One of the hardest things for me is being consistent in my workout routines. I find I have weeks where I can workout everyday, no problem. Then there are other weeks where I’m either busy, distracted, unmotivated or just annoyed where working out is a full-fledged struggle. I’ve talked about how dangerous inaction can be and since then [with the help of some of you], I’ve worked on developing a new mindset for my workouts that has helped out a lot. I call it the “Screw It & Do It” mindset.

Screw It & Do It

The Screw It & Do It (SIDI) mindset has been the easiest way for me to make sure I’m regularly taking steps towards my goals rather than allowing myself to stagnate and backslide by doing nothing. The essence of the Screw It & Do It mindset is that whenever I feel like not doing something that I know will get me better, I tell myself to “Screw It And Do It.”  Screw the excuses, screw the rationalization, screw the complaining and just do it!

Paul & Billy mentioned similar mindsets in the comments when I wrote about Dangerous Inaction [Paul called it the Nike Club (just do it) which I thought was clever].  Billy mentioned the practice of just doing something everyday. I think both suggestions are awesome, but I find personally that I’m quite good at persuading myself out of “just doing it.” It seemed almost too general so I realized I needed to create some more specific guidelines for myself.

What I’ve done is I’ve made a commitment [as Billy & Paul said] to do something everyday. What I’ve done differently is I’ve precisely defined what that something should be. I call this my mini-goal. This is the goal that is want to do every day. This is what I’m referring to in the “Do It” part of  “Screw It & Do It.” For me, my SIDI mini-goal is to run 2 miles every day at the very least, regardless of what happens. No it’s not necessarily a very far distance, but it keeps me doing something everyday. The great part about this is that no matter what happens throughout my day, I know I can always find a way to run at least 2 miles. It’s less than a 15 minute commitment, I can do it inside or outside, and it doesn’t matter whether I have access to a gym or not. I’m able to accomplish my mini-goal regardless of my situation.

Why It Works

Adopting this mindset has worked for me for a few reasons.

It Eliminates Excuses

When I think through creating a mini-goal, I do so with the mindset that it needs to be excuse-proof. This way, when it comes to my workout, I’ve already countered my excuses to before I can even start to protest against them. For example, take my SIDI mini-goal of running 2 miles everyday.

Usually when I go to workout I have a conversation with myself and my excuses look something like this:

I’m tired, I don’t have the energy to run.

You’ve got a good point, besides I wouldn’t want to post an embarrassing run time on my blog.

I just ate and I’m doomed to get side cramps because I didn’t wait 30 minutes after eating to exercise. It’s science!

Touche.  I can’t argue with science!

It’s really late. Way too late to run.

You’re right, it IS really late. I’m not even sure it’s legal to run this late at night. I better go to bed right now.

If I’m aiming to accomplish my mini-goal, instead of some vague exercise routine, the whole conversation changes to:

I’m tired, I don’t have the energy to run.

Who am I  kidding? It’s 2 miles. I can run two miles in your sleep. Let’s go do it.

I just ate and I’m doomed to get side cramps because I didn’t wait 30 minutes after eating to exercise. It’s science!

I can run two miles no matter what. If I get side cramps, I get side cramps. I’ll deal with it, it’s only 15 minutes.

It’s really late. Way too late to run.

I’m not going to bed soon anyways. Better just run, do your two miles, wear myself out and then I can go to sleep.

When I create the goal with my excuses in mind, I render all of my protests useless.

It Creates A Tangible Time Limit

The second reason it works is that it creates a tangible time limit for the activity. I find that I’m scared of activities that have open-ended time periods. What I mean by that is that I find I don’t do some things because I’m worried that I’ll have to commit several hours to it. Having a tangible time limit changes things. Anytime I go out for a SIDI run I know everything will be over in less than 15 minutes. Even if I walk the dang thing I’m still done in less than 20! As you could see from the above conversations in my head, a lot of my “excuses” are time related.  Having a tangible time frame helps squash those excuses. Even if I’m busy, there’s seldom a time where I can’t carve out 15-20 minutes in my day to knock out a run. The tangible time limit allows me to get things a run done quick without worrying about committing several hours to it.

It’s Habit Forming

Exactly like Billy said, the SIDI mentality ensures that you’re taking steps daily towards your big impossible goal. One of my biggest areas of weaknesses, is allowing inaction to breed inaction and gaining negative momentum. SIDI keeps me from snowballing momentum in the wrong direction. Sure, I might not be breaking new distance records or going for my longest runs, but the most important part is that I’m’ doing something rather than nothing. The specificity of the goal helps as well. It’s something easily attainable, but I’m still able to push myself to get a better time everyday.

Create Your Own

The Screw It & Do It mindset doesn’t just apply to working out. You can use it for whatever impossible goal you’ve set for yourself.

You can do it with absolutely anything, but whatever it is that you want to do, just remember the 3 criteria when picking out a mini-goal:

  1. It directly contributes to your big “impossible” goal and is excuse proof [No Excuses]
  2. You’re able to do it consistently in a relatively short period of time – ideally 20 minutes [Tangible Time Limit].
  3. You able to do it 1x/day regardless of your situation [Habit Forming].

These criteria aren’t a steel trap [if you want, you can pick a task that takes 30 minutes instead of 20], but the point is to keep things simple and excuse-proof. Anybody can find 20 minutes in their day. If you try to make your mini-goal something that takes longer than that, you may find you start to use time as an excuse all over again.

A Few Guidelines To Keep In Mind:

  • Your SIDI Mini-goal Is Your Everyday Minimum

This means for it to be effective you need to make the goal doable and you need to enforce it yourself. Earlier this month, Chris Pearson put out this tweet which was promptly retweeted by Chris Guillebeau and then, consequently, the rest of the world. I think it applies nicely here.

[blackbirdpie url=http://twitter.com/pearsonified/status/13449065614]

Like all things, the Screw It & Do It mindset is only effective if you actually implement it. No one else can make you do it, YOU have to commit to it.

  • Regularly Exceed Your SIDI Mini-goal

The SIDI mindset really only applies on those days when you absolutely everything feels impossible and you don’t want to do anything to take steps towards your goal. Keep in mind, and this is important, Screw It & Do It should only apply when you feel you CAN’T do the full-scale workout, exercise or practice that you would like to. It’s designed in order to keep you from moving backwards. In other words, it helps you maintain, it won’t necessarily help you grow.  In order to grow and accomplish your larger impossible goal, you need to regularly push yourself to your limits and beyond. Simply doing your SIDI mini-goal won’t move you towards accomplishing your larger goal, and although you may get really good at your mini-goal, you need to be actively striving for something greater.

  • Don’t Forget To Rest

I take at least one day a week to rest from working out, blogging, and several other things I do on an otherwise daily basis. There’s a difference between staying in a routine and working constantly until you burn out.  You need time to rest, recover and refresh. If you don’t take that time for yourself, you’ll find out that your workouts, exercises and activities become draining rather than invigorating. That’s the opposite of what we’re going for. Make sure you set aside time for rest.

I’ve been very successful in my running routines using this. I do need to be pushing myself for longer runs, but it’s amazing how much I’ve built up my endurance and been consistently running every day (even though I’ve never been a runner before). The next thing I need to do is to apply this to my biking and swimming training and kick it up a notch. It’s worth noting that over time you may have to revise your SIDI mini-goal. For example, as I get faster and my endurance increases, I may focus on going for a 3-4 mile run rather than just a 2-miler. This will vary depending on your Impossible Goal but it’s worth keeping in mind. So have at it. set your mini-goals, say Screw It & Do it and do something Impossible!

What are your thoughts on the Screw It & Do It mindset? Have you done something like this before? Has it helped you in the past to think like this or am I way off? Let me know in the comments!

Comments

  1. says

    Screw it and do it…catchy!

    I can always trick myself using the snowball effect. Just put on your shoes. Okay, now just do some stretching, if you don’t feel like running, you don’t have to. Okay, I’m all stretched out, why don’t you just try to go outside for a second. Oh, now you’re outside, might as well just start running. Oh good, you’re running now, no reason to stop.

    Works every time.

    • Joel Runyon says

      Haha, Love it Tyler. Just Trick yourself. I have to do that even after I’ve started running. I’m always intimidated when I know the mileage that I’m about to run. For longer runs, I’m toying with the idea of just going and then “tricking myself” into running “just to that tree” and then “just to the next intersection.” I find it helps sometimes when I’m not obsessing about just how far I really am going and just worrying about going.

  2. says

    Love the mindset bro! … Getting out there and just doing it is the only way to keep the wheels in motion. We all have our days, it’s just a matter of getting back on the wagon as soon as you fall off.

    Love the concept of your site brotha. Looking forward to seeing you check off your list!

    Cheers!

    Patrick Hitches

  3. says

    I’ve been working out every week for eight years now, and the thing I tell people is – if all else fails – run around the block two times. Even if that’s all, it’s so important just to know you did SOMETHING. Good luck.

  4. Cath says

    Hi Joel,

    One trick I try when I don’t feel like running is to ‘just do it for ten minutes’. I give myself permission to stop after ten minutes if I still don’t feel like it. Usually once you start you don’t stop!
    Best wishes,
    Cath

  5. James says

    Nice article! There’s always a million excuses to not do something. I saw a great video on youtube, a Nike commercial (actually saw it in a sermon). I keep it under my favorites and watch it every so often when I find myself coming up with excuses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obdd31Q9PqA
    Check it out. Just Do It.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Lots of times people aren’t paying attention because they’re focused on the frustration of the situation rather than the opportunities available. Other people are just waiting around waiting for someone to lead and take charge. You can be that person, but nobody will tell you that. Nobody will delegate that position to you. You have to decide on your own to be that person and take that responsibility. When you see an open space/new opportunity go for it. Don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s okay, just do it! […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>