During the COVID-19 pandemic, I made a promise to myself to add weight training to my exercise routine. I already had a steady schedule of cardiovascular exercises with my running. My strength game suffered.
I had been pouring all of my time and energy for exercise into running. I knew I needed to add something else.
There was that old weight bench in the basement that I’d purchased 20ish years ago. The weight bench sat dormant for many of those years. Well, except for us using it to hold the clothes we planned on donating to Goodwill.
The pandemic gave me the time to pull out the weight bench, clean it up, and bring it to our garage. The garage has now become the weight room. It has worked out well.
Weight Lifting Scared Me
I was always intimidated by the thought of weight lifting. I was never muscular or athletic. Often, I felt out of my league and wimpy.
I could never put on muscle! I could never lift anything heavy! Or I could never lift for a long time!
I mean, come on, what if I hurt myself? My arms might give out and I could drop the barbell on my chest. What if I pulled a muscle in my back because I lifted wrong?
These were the thoughts that stopped me from lifting… Until recently.
We also find ourselves being scared of stepping into leadership positions. Similar thoughts fill our minds. They’re different, sure… But they’re the same negative thoughts.
What if no one listens to me? Could someone misinterpret what I say and use it to justify poor behavior (I’ve had this happen!)? Do I have the ability to let someone go?
See, it’s all self-doubt. It’s scary and it can hold you back… But it doesn’t have to.
Small Steps To Success
As I stepped into weight lifting exercises, I discovered the key was to take it easy. Find small steps that would help build good habits and muscle.
I was looking for a program that I could follow. It didn’t have to be hard. Just simple enough that I felt like I could lift weights on a regular basis.
I found a program called StrongLifts 5×5. It’s an app I downloaded onto my phone and it tracks my workouts.
The program is simple. You do 5 reps of 5 squats, 5 bench presses, and 5 barbell rows one day. The next time you lift, you do 5 reps of 5 squats, 5 overhead presses, and 1 rep of 5 deadlifts. Each time you rotate between exercise A and exercise B you increase the amount of weight by 5 lbs.
The small increase of 5 lbs is barely noticeable. The small increase of 5 lbs helped to increase my strength, though.
Now, I’m lifting more than I ever have. It feels great. I feel successful in my weight lifting journey.
I won’t ever be Arnold Schwarzenegger but I will be better than what I was before.
This is what small steps do to you. You take the small, slightly uncomfortable actions that will grow you over time.
Want to become a better public speaker? Join a Toastmasters club. There, you can take small steps to increase your public speaking ability. You can participate in a Table Topics session. Do it enough times and you may feel comfortable enough to give a longer speech.
Want to become a better husband? Do one kind thing for your wife today. Then, tomorrow… repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Before you know it, you will be the husband you always desired to be.
Want to lead better? Take charge of a small situation at work. Offer your input and help lead a small team. The next time you, you can attempt to lead a larger team. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’re leading and you don’t even know it.
Small steps are the steps to success. Each small action you take moves you toward a stronger, more confident you.