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The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
So you got injured or burned out & dropped a new year resolution.
This is just the time of year when people drop their New Year's resolutions.
Gyms got crowded in January but now they’ve thinned out.
I call this attrition The St Valentine's Day Massacre.
Some people make resolutions and keep them, while others lapse. A lot of these false starts stem from injury or premature burnout.
Maybe you are out of shape and then you begin a routine that is too ambitious and unsustainable.
When we tweak a knee or become exhausted, it affects us physically, more so as we age, but it can also affect us psychologically, especially our self-confidence.
At some level, and we might not even be fully aware of it, the injury implies we couldn’t do it.
I talk to a lot of people who go from being sedentary to hitting the gym or running 5x per week.
While I love the ambition, these are not the things to do.
So what then?
What to Do Now
Ok, so you came out of the gate too fast and you got injured or burned out.
Here are some things you can do now to help you restart.
1. Rest Your Body - Let yourself heal. If you’re injured or experiencing pain, your body is telling you that you need to rest it. Listen to your body.
In fact, listening to your body is a great skill that will serve you well forever on your health journey. Your body tells you when you are at risk for injury, when you are exhausted, when you should take a day off or ease up on the intensity.
2. Set a Target Date - If you fell off the horse, set a target date to get back on it. Maybe it's tomorrow but feel free to give yourself a week or two. It’s all good.
Setting a target date will give you the time and space to get yourself mentally prepared to go and to even get psyched up for it!
3. Go Back to Level One - You are resolved to get back at it after a false start which is fantastic. You’ve set a date and you’re going to give it another go having learned some things about your body.
Now, take what you’ve learned and go back to level one. Start easy. Give yourself a win.
This goes back to my Gamifying Yourself Post from a few weeks ago. When you are starting out, make Level One easy the way video games make the first level easy.
That way, you taste success and give yourself some positive reinforcement out of the gate.
You are getting healthy for the long-term. You can start slow, get some small wins, and gradually work up.
Plus, you’ve got to earn the intensity. That’s just nature
4. Don’t Get Injured and Don’t Burn Out - This might seem obvious now, but let’s briefly put some perspective on it.
Burn out and injuries are the worst, because not only do you have to deal with the physical and psychological effects mentioned above, but also because you have to rest and so you miss workouts.
This gets more important the older you get, because your body heals slower.
It also gets more important the more advanced you get, because setbacks cost more relative to your training.
You can err on the side of conservatism and skip a workout if you are tired or feeling susceptible to injury. You can also do an easy workout when you are tired. Consistency is more important than intensity for the long haul so don’t sweat either.
5. Use the The Case Study Model
Here is a powerful frame 💪🏻:
Imagine that You are the subject AND the observer in a continuous scientific experiment.
No one will ever know you like you know yourself.
You try new things, you take note of the effects of those things, and then you learn from them.
So if you started too fast and injured yourself, take note of that now. You just learned something important about yourself.
Then, continue to observe things you do and the effects those things have on you.
If you ran hard two days in a row, how did your body respond in terms of energy and muscle soreness?
You are your own Case Study!
This is not just for exercise either. You can use this for all aspects of health.
If you eat late, how did you sleep? How do you feel the next morning?
If you slept poorly, how is your mood? Etc Etc Etc…
It’s super important to tune into your own experiences so the Case Study Model, where N= 1 and you are the Scientist and the N, can be applied across multiple modes of experience.
You are the participant and the observer!
Here are some links that might be useful for today’s discussion.