Reps and time, reps and time.
It’s always just reps and time.
From a personal trainer standpoint, this might be how many reps of an exercise you are doing or how long you spend doing “cardio”. But that’s not what I’m talking about…
Let me start with a story:
Last year I bought a boosted board. It’s an electric skateboard.
I’ve ridden skateboards, surfboards, snowboards and wakeboards for many years so I was pretty excited!
I learned quickly that an electric skateboard was a whole new beast though and had to start on the easiest/slowest setting. Over the course of a week I was able to build up to the top setting.
A few months later I realize that I always ride with my left foot forward. I had seen someone else who could ride with either foot forward and I thought it would be cool if I could do that too. I tried with my right foot forward and I was back to level 1 on the board. Back to level 1 AND practicing on my street only. Nothing involving traffic!
After a week or so I was up to level 2 but it was still tough and awkward. Many times I would just go back to having my left foot forward because it was easier and I could get where I was going way faster. Eventually I stopped practicing my right foot forward all together.
A couple of months later I decided to give it a go again. I put in more time and more consistent practice. I pushed myself to do it even if it was hard and not as fun.
It has now been a few weeks of that practice and guess what?!
I’m up to the top level/speed and able to ride anywhere. I’m not AS GOOD as I am with my left foot forward, but I now feel like I can ride with either foot forward any time I want. And I know that with a bit more practice and time I’ll probably be just as good on both sides. I’m even practicing switching my feet as I’m riding.
This story identifies what I’m talking about with reps and time.
Anything we are good at in life, we’re good at because we’ve done lots of reps over a long period of time.
I was good with my left foot forward because I had done that my whole life. Thousands of reps and hours/days of time.
With my right foot, even though it was the same skill or action, I was literally starting at 0. I had done exactly zero reps and spent zero time riding a board that way. When you think about it, it would be ridiculous to think that I’d be any good.
I just needed reps and time.
So I’m not talking about squats and treadmills. I’m talking about learning, skills and habits.
Apply it to:
- learning to read faster
- learning a new language
- playing an instrument
- driving a car
- building the habit of exercise
This last one is my key focus for this article.
I see so many people start a gym routine, do well for a few weeks, see some improvement and then stop. Kinda like my first couple of weeks of riding with my right foot forward.
They stop going, fall of the wagon and feel like that can’t do it or will never be able to do it.
The amazing thing is that is literally like building a skill. Just like you won’t be good at playing the violin the first time you pick it up, you won’t be good at going to the gym the first time you start going.
I’m not talking about what you do at the gym. I’m literally just talking about GOING to the gym.
There’s no need to stress if you loose consistency or fall off the wagon. It’s all about reps and time.
How many reps have you put in?
How long have you been pushing yourself? Consistently?
If you thought about applying that same amount to learning the violin, do you think you’d be a pro by now?
My prescription. More reps, more time.
I’m sorry if you don’t like that, but in my experience it’s the only way.