McDermott: Success is boring

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

Well, let me say that I feel that being successful is not boring and of course, “success” is subject to your own definition. Getting to that success can be boring. Let me explain.

In our world of social media, people post the “best of” what is going on and it can be tempting to think everything is always amazing and exciting. The truth is often far from it, and when it comes to fitness and health, it really can be boring, or at least “plain.”

Let’s look at running a marathon as our first example. If you saw a Facebook post, with a finish line, arms up high, big smile, the crowd, the banners, it all looks pretty exciting. And it is!

Let’s look at what it took to get there: a minimum of 18 weeks of running four to six times a week. Lots of those runs are unimpressive: a short, easy 30 minute run, a 60 minute hilly run, a long steady run for two hours. Don’t get me wrong, I love running. I think it’s fun and awesome every time, because each run I do, I am imagining the race I am training for at least part of the time.

Getting to that marathon means running when it is cold, or windy, or raining, or snowing, or on a treadmill looking at the wall. It’s getting up early or fitting it in late, or sneaking it in during lunch. It’s every Sunday for 18 weeks. It’s the same old highway or trail over and over and over again. This is where the magic is: the consistency. That is what makes the success happen.

I was reading about the run program for Eliud Kipchoge as he worked to try and beat the Marathon World Record. It’s pretty boring in a sense: Every day he ran, and most days he ran twice. Usually around 30 kms total per day as a 20 in the morning and 10 later, or some variation on that theme. Lots of 30 and 40k runs too. A few times there were track workouts of 400m repeats a speed, and you could call those “exciting.” He didn’t run in famous places, or with celebrities, and there was no drama. He just ran. A lot. All the time. Booooring, but still awesome, and absolutely the road to success!

Same thing goes for nutrition. To be healthy, we need to consistently eat healthy food and it is that consistency that is the magic! Food has become so many social things that we often forget it is just fuel. Most of my meals are not “Facebook-worthy”: plain broiled chicken, steamed veggies and salad with a light dressing. Plain yogurt with berries. Plain veggies. Plain peanuts. Water (plain).

I am walking on dangerous territory here, but marriage is made up of a lot of boring things too. Take out the trash, do the dishes, clean the laundry, pick up the mail, make the bed, clean stuff, fold stuff, make meals, clean toilets, get groceries, put stuff away, fix things, and so on. It is consistently being part of a team that supports each other through all of the mundane elements that life requires. I have been married for nearly 26 years and it’s great. But if you think it’s like our wedding day or honeymoon all the time, I have news for you. The success however, of being married to my best friend, and all that is creates is indeed magic and wonderful.

Because, this is where the magic lies: in the average, everyday, normal things. By being consistent and ‘boring’ 80 percent of the time, the finish lines, date nights or Christmas dinners become, by comparison, incredible. Again, I am not saying that you cannot find joy and purpose and bliss in the every day things; far from it. I am simply saying it is important to understand the road to success is all of the normal, everyday things that you do consistently.

Set big goals, and then consistently keep plugging away relentlessly until you have reached them!

Happy Training!

Scott

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