Change it Up, Don't Give it Up

Similar to most kids, I played a few different sports. I enjoyed shooting a basketball, playing street hockey with the neighborhood kids, and tossing a football around. I wasn't great at many of them, but I didn't really seem to care at that point in my life. Maybe I was too careless to even notice that I didn't excel. 

Although I grew up playing a lot of different sports for fun, baseball was one of the few sports that I played in an organized setting. Along with rec basketball games every weekend, I had rec baseball games lined up in the summer, too. I don't remember too much from those summers, but I do remember that I liked rec baseball the most out of all the sports I played. 

At age 10, my dad nudged me to tryout for a competitive baseball team. I tried out for a few teams, and was lucky enough to make one of them. All throughout that first year of competitive baseball, interestingly enough, I hated it.

I wasn't nearly as good as any of the other kids. If I was lucky enough to play, I hit nine-hole (that usually means you're not the best in the lineup). And when I did get the chance to step up to the plate, I couldn't hit the ball to save my life. My arm was average, too. I didn't get much playing time defensively. I was slow, and being left handed limited me to a few positions, each of which had a better player in them. I enjoyed pitching, though. At the time I didn't know what I liked about it (considering all the pressure and attention was on me and I wasn't great), but I do now (and we'll get to that later). 

After that first year of misery in competitive baseball, I was so ready to quit. But, the word "quit" doesn't really have much of a place in my family. My dad didn't let me quit. Well, I shouldn't say that. What I should say is that he urged me to play another year, but spend time practicing in between team practices and games. He knew I liked pitching, so he pushed me to give it one more year while practicing my pitching with him in the backyard.

I agreed.

So there we were, in the backyard playing catch and working on my pitching every chance we could. We would practice together every day after school until we couldn't see the ball leave the other person's hand. We practiced in the rain, and the snow. We practiced, practiced, and practiced in order to get ready for the second season. 

The second season came around, and everything was flipped on its head. I was the best pitcher on our team. I had command of my pitches. My confidence was through the roof. My teammates hardly even recognized my game on the field.

This was a massive turning point for me in my life.

For the first time ever, I saw what consistent practice on my craft did for me. Before my very eyes, I saw my hard work pay off. With every outing I had, I felt the reward of endless hours practicing with my dad in the backyard. These moments in that second season developed a deep love for time on the mound. 

And now, it makes so much sense as to why I love pitching. Pitching taught me work-ethic. It showed me a direct correlation between repetition, and execution. It showed me that hard work actually does pay off. Pitching on the mound also taught me how to have a short memory. It ruthlessly showed me that I can work, and work, and work, but there still might be situations where things don't go my way. 

My life now operates one pitch at a time. Similar to pitching, I give my all to whatever it is that I am doing. And once the "ball" leaves my hand, everything else is out of my control. 

The same thing applies to those of you who are trying to achieve a goal this year. 

Live One Pitch at a Time

Whether your goal is to lose 50 pounds of body fat, bench 300 pounds, or simply become a healthier version of yourself, a key to your success is living one pitch at a time. 

Since you're not playing baseball, your pitches are your tasks, and your days.

Each day I wake, I have a "To-Do" list set up that I put together the night before. On that "To-Do" list, there are three different sections. One section is titled "Execute" and the others are titled "Business" and "Personal".  

The "Execute" section of my list is extremely important. These are things that absolutely need to get done that day. No ifs, ands, or buts. The items under that section of my list are items that are absolutely pushing me in a forward direction in life, and business.

The "Business" section of my list is important, too. All of those items include things that need to get done in order to push business forward. Although they are important, they are secondary to the items in the "Execute" section for that day. So, my job is to always complete my "Execute" list, that way I can get to the items in "Business". 

Same thing goes for the "Personal" section. These items are usually the least important, and don't get done until everything else is done. 

I have a calendar hung up in my room. At the end of each day, I mark a big red "X" on that day if I completed everything in the "Execute" section. If I see that "X" on the calendar, I know that I threw my pitch and I did the absolute best I could. It's only a matter of time before a bunch of red marks on my calendar start to pay off.

I suggest that you do the same for your goals and resolutions. It's extremely important to know what lies at the end of the road, but if you can't see the road in front of you, then you're never going to get there. It's vital that you slice and dice your end goal into smaller jobs or tasks that you can execute each and every day. 

Let's say your goal is to drop 30 pounds of body fat by the end of 2018. Don't just tell yourself that and call it good. Because here's what's going to happen. You're going to go to the gym and eat clean for a few weeks, and then you'll have one slip and you'll let it all go. 

Break your goal down. You want to drop 30 pounds of body fat by the end of 2018? Awesome, that's fantastic and I'm all for it. But let's break things down even more. In order to reach that goal, there will be things you'll have to accomplish and be consistent at in order to get there. Those things are going to the gym, eating according to your goal, and perhaps supplementing if absolutely necessary. Keep some sort of log of what needs to get done each day, week, and month in order to get you to that goal. When you complete those things each day, give yourself your own type of red "X". Whether you make marks in a calendar, or keep some sort of journal, be aware of the small wins that you are having. Those small wins are the bricks that are going to lay the path to your goal. 

Not only will those wins keep you on the path to your goal, but they'll keep you in a positive state, too. If you're not keeping track and registering victories in your mind, one small hiccup can send you stumbling. But if you see two weeks worth of "X"s and victories, and one blank day, you'll be much more inclined to put your head down and work to get the next "X" up there.

Along with noting your small wins, go into this year with a different mindset than you've had before. 

Sh*t Will Hit the Fan

You may as well accept it now, because it's guaranteed to happen. Accepting this will be a complete game changer for you this year.

As I mentioned before, I loved pitching because I could live one pitch at a time. Once that ball left my hand, I could be calm knowing that I did all I could in that moment. Did that mean that the ball always hit the glove where I wanted to? Of course not. Does that mean I struck everyone out since I worked to do my best with every pitch? Of course not. 

It meant that once the ball left my hand, I couldn't think about it anymore. Whether that pitch got us a win on a strikeout, or a loss on a walk off home run, I had to let it go, keep my head down, and get ready for the next pitch.

There were days that this happened in practice too. I practiced, practiced, and practiced. Pitches went too far left, right, up, and down. Pitches hit the ground. I messed up some days. But that was ok. Why? I lived one pitch, one job, one day at a time. 

Change it Up, Don't Give it Up

When I write that "X" on my calendar, that's my way of telling myself that I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. It tells me that I did my job for that day. I did what I asked of myself. When that happens, and the items that I'm executing properly line up with my vision, reward usually comes soon enough.

But sometimes it doesn't work out that way! It may not mean that results show right away. In fact, there have been times where weeks of red marks are on my calendar, and I didn't see any reward or results. But that was always fine with me. Why?

It's fine because it tells me one thing. It tells me that it's time to change it up, not time to give it up.

Since I live one day, one task, one pitch at a time, I never question that my effort is useless. I only find myself questioning the items in the "Execute" section of my list. Having said that, my failures are not a reflection of my work ethic or consistency, and they're not a reflection of who I am as a person, either.

Neither are yours. If you have small goals to execute each day, you won't be in question of your efforts. You won't be in question of whether you can or can't. You won't be in question of your value as a human being, either. The only thing you'll be in question of is the items you are executing. And those are easy to change. 

The difference between success and failure in your big goal is no longer a matter of whether or not you think you can do something, it's a matter of whether or not you're willing to find out what works. 

So as you go into this new year, find your goal and put a system in place for yourself. Give yourself a way to track the small victories. Give yourself a way to see the value of your efforts, and give yourself the opportunity to explore new concepts. 

Thanks For Reading!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to hear what I have to say. I truly appreciate it. No matter where you're at along your health and fitness journey, remember that you've got a guy. I'm here to help you take that next step, regardless of what that might look like. From a simple note of encouragement to completely tailored coaching, I'm here for ya. God bless.

About the Author

Online Personal Trainer

Adam is a fitness professional, Chipotle fanatic, and cookie enthusiast based in Fort Collins, CO. After hanging up the baseball cleats, he found a strong interest in the human body and how it performs. Since then, Adam has been transforming lives through fitness in a fun and encouraging atmosphere. 

As an ACE CPT and Fitness Nutrition Specialist, he's constantly moved to helped people improve in all walks of life. If you're interested in hiring Adam as your coach, fill out an application here.