I ran my second triathlon of the season this past weekend. This course was the Valpo Triathlon, the same course where I did my very first triathlon last year.
When I ran this race last year, I never really conceptualized all the things I would go on to do. Another sprint tri, an olympic triathlon, a half marathon, a full marathon. When did these things happen? Sure I had written them down on a piece of paper and posted them online, but that’s just words on a piece of paper. Pixels on a screen. Writing is one thing. Doing is another. It seems crazy, but it all happened in just a year. Only a year.
But it still took a year.
A year might seem like a short period of time, but you can do so much in 365 days, if you really want to.
How to Get Better In A Year
1. Get better at 1 little thing every day.
2. Do it for 365 days.
3. 365 little improvements snowball into something substantial.
I finished this race 14 minutes and 24 minutes faster than last year’s race. A 15 minute improvement is great, and I’ll take it any day, but honestly I’m a little disappointed. I improved a good 10 minutes or so on the bike section just due to the fact that I wasn’t riding a mountain bike (a mistake I’ll never be making again). I improved about 5 minutes on the run as well, but I know I can go faster.
If I’m honest with myself, I didn’t always get better everyday this last year. Maybe every other day or every 3 days.
But the incredibly thing is:
A Year Is A Long Time
365 days is so much time. Even though I probably only got better every other day or every 3 days, I still got a ton better and was able to do a lot of impossible things.
So while 365 little improvements add up to something pretty significant. 100 little improvement still add up to something substantial.
A Quick Guide To Getting Better
What do you want to do better? Do that. If you want to do something big, do it in a small way first. If you want to do a hundred pushups, and you only have time to do 10 pushups at your lunch break, then do 10 pushups at your lunch break. If you want to write a novel but can only write 500 words a day, write 500 words a day. Pick something. No matter how small. Then go do it. But do something.
I’m fairly skilled at this. Right now, I’m working on gaining weight. I’ve lost a lot of weight due to racing so I’m doing 4-6 weeks of GOMAD so I’m not just skin and bones. If you’re not familiar with GOMAD, all it really means is that I drink a Gallon Of Milk A Day (clever acronyms). There’s no way for me to drink that much milk while I’m at home and remotely enjoy life, so I take a half gallon with me to work every day and drink it there. I get all sorts of random stares, repetitive questions and I’m sure 73% of the people there think I’m nuts. I don’t care. I’m up 8 pounds in a week and a half. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was worried about what people are thinking. Feel free to look stupid.
Make a schedule. Stick to it. If you commit to doing something once a week, do it once a week. If it’s 2x or 3x a week, do it that much. If it’s everyday, make sure you do it everyday. Leave some room for life, but be consistent, create a schedule and commit to it. Make it a habit, a part of your life. If you do it long enough, it begins to get weird when you leave it out.
If I tried turning GOMAD and only did it every few days or whenever I felt like it, I wouldn’t be gaining weight. It wouldn’t be a consistent enough action to effect any substantial change. Not only that, but once you start letting “how you feel” dictate what you do, you’ll find the times you don’t “feel” like doing work you need to do, grow and grow and grow once it takes a foothold. A schedule can help stop you from
There’s nothing interesting about mediocrity. Nobody ever gets excited to be average. If you’re not getting better, what are you doing instead?
Get better every single day.
Do 1 more pull up.
Run 1 second faster.
Write 1 more word.
Do 1 more pushup.
Swim 1 more lap.
Pick something. Be better today. Be better tomorrow.
Always be better.