You can put a three-year-old on his bed, but you can’t force him to make it

Here is a short video of my little guy “making” his bed.

Kind of funny, but how is this possibly relevant to a fitness and wellness blog? Well I will tell you.

Today’s post was prompted by an article I read recently in the magazine, Experience L!fe, a publication from Lifetime Fitness. Check out the entire thing here. It’s best if you read the whole article, but if you are too lazy don’t feel like it, the gist is that we shouldn’t go through life trying to do the things we want to do, rather we should wholeheartedly embrace the challenge.

The author says,

“Try” is a state of effort without complete intention and commitment–and so it generally turns out to be little more than a way station on the road to failure.

Ain’t that the truth. One look at that video and it’s clear the kid was not fully committed to making his bed. And so he didn’t (at least not until we had a little talk about behavior and consequences). And it hit me that I am guilty of using the try word a lot. I use it when I tell Graham to try to make his bed–and you see how well that works out. I use it for myself too, mostly when I’m planning a difficult run: “I’ll just try it and see what I can do,” I say to myself, knowing those words give me permission to bail if it gets too tough. Looking at it through the lens of that article, I see how wimpy I sound when I have that kind of attitude.

Think about it, and I’ll bet you can remember a time when you’ve tried too. It seems kind of embaranow? As the author of the article says, “In my experience, if you’re hopelessly or halfheartedly trying–expending your energy without a powerful sense of connection to a positive outcome–you might as well not try at all.” Whether it’s completing a tough workout or starting a new business venture, you are planning your exit strategy before you even start.

Does that mean you will meet every goal you set for yourself; that your every effort will be a success? Uh, no. But hopefully you will avoid looking like Graham and his bed, a lot of noise but no real effort.

So how do you avoid simply trying and start gettin’ er done? Start small and make your bed every morning. Already do that? Yeah, me too–feels good doesn’t it? Want to start eating healthier? Don’t worry about giving your entire diet an overhaul, just add one serving of fruit to every meal. That’s totally doable. Dream of running a marathon but don’t even own running shoes? Go out and buy a pair. Those fresh new shoes will give you the kick you need to get started on a training program. Thinking of starting a new blog but feel overwhelmed by all it entails? Just start writing! Over time, small deeds add up into big accomplishments, helping to build your confidence and reach higher.

Have I totally changed your feelings about the word “try” or do you think I’m a little too intense? I’ll be you notice yourself thinking/saying it a lot more now. I never even thought about it before, and now it’s like the only word I ever say. I must have typed it and replaced it five times in this post alone!


One thought on “You can put a three-year-old on his bed, but you can’t force him to make it

  1. Chrissy says:

    Wow! That can be applied to so many aspects of life. Don’t I feel like a try-baby. Less trying more doing. Get it and like it!

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