January is a rehearsal

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The year is like a marathon and most people treat January as a sprint. I've made the mistake of running the first mile of a marathon too quick. I got burned out towards the end of the marathon. Yes, I crossed the finish line. It was then that I realized that I should have paced myself better at the beginning. 

We feel the same way about our goals. We want to overachieve. We throw away all the "bad" food. We fill our refrigerator with foods we will not likely eat because we don't even know how to cook the thing. We invest in a gym membership and we go to the gym 5 days a week. The problem is, it hurts too much to sit anywhere. The toilet included. 

We go hard. We have great intentions. We just don't know how to maintain such a place. Self-doubt creeps in too. We ask, what if this doesn't work? What if my muscles never adapt to this type of exercise? What if I can never eat birthday cake again? It is tough to imagine the life we want based on the life we are currently living in January. 

It feels easier to celebrate National Quitters Day but I'm here to tell you, there is a better way. 

Consider using January as a warm-up month instead of a full-out sprint to the finish. 

When you warm up, you slowly condition yourself to start your exercise. We gently warm up our muscles to move a certain way during the time we are exercising. 

Warming up is like prepping ingredients before you start cooking. 

I recently made fajitas for my family. I'm not sure about you but the most fun part of having fajitas, other than eating them, is hearing the sizzle. Every head in the restaurant turns to that amazing looking, hot platter. 

You can't have the sizzle without preparing those ingredients. 

If your goal was a recipe, what would be the major and minor ingredients you'd need to prepare for it? 

The first year I ran a marathon, the major ingredients were:

A training plan 

Running shoes 

A water bottle 

Minor ingredients were:

running group membership

Chapstick (running with dry lips is painful to me)

There were more ingredients such as mental toughness and the correct clothes for the correct type of weather. It took 18 long weeks plus the many months I built a running base but I got my medal. 

January is not the finish line, it is simply the beginning of that journey. 

January is a rehearsal. I tell you what, I spend a lot of my life at rehearsals. 

Tonight, I'm taking my kids to piano rehearsal. Tomorrow is orchestra rehearsal and french horn rehearsal. Let's not forget about vocal rehearsal that night at church. 

Why do we rehearse? Because we want the actual performance to go well. 

Before rehearsal, we practice on our own. Practicing does not make it to social media reels. Why? It's not impressive. 

What you do find is that when the cameras are off, the camaraderie of those of us practicing grows. 

January is all about the silent grind that builds that beautiful end in December. 

I'm here to tell you this: don't be so hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and reassess who you want to be by December. Start practicing. Get to rehearsal. 

Whatever you do, do not quit. You are worth the effort.