I did a lot of running, weight lifting and sports while in college and quite possibly the biggest take away message I learned after those four years is the benefit of consistency. Broken up into semesters or trimesters, college careers are all about starting and stopping and starting again. Be it studying, team sports, or social life, it was a constant battle of relearning old habits.
I noticed at the end of every 3 months, I had relearned my skills just in time for them to be useless again. Studying Organic Chemistry for 3 months just to never take another chemistry class. Or 3 months of intensive sprint training just to spend a month eating christmas food and staying away from the cold. Whatever good habits I (re)developed would be forgotten during one of the numerous breaks just to be followed up with a more excruciating semester right after.
upping my game
One summer I decided to break myself of my old ways and enrolled in a full time class schedule and joined a athletic team that ramped up practices during the summer. It started out hard. Very hard. My body was used to being rewarded with bountiful amounts of downtime after working so hard mentally and physically for a block of 3 months. Instead I took one of the hardest classes in my major and joined a team that loved practicing at noon during Texas summers.
Getting past the beginning couple of weeks, things got easier rather quickly. In fact, the fist few weeks weren’t that hard either. Just had to remind myself that this was familiar and I just had to keep it up. Instead of starting all over, I just had to learn how to keep going. In the past I had become accustomed to putting in a lot of energy at the beginning of each semester just to get back to the groove of a normal schedule. Each beginning had been taking so much energy out of me that I became tired and burned out much quicker, meaning I was needing each following break to recoup.
“Its a lot easier to keep up than catch up”
This time, however, I found keeping my head up and moving forward meant I wasn’t gasping for air and burned out after just a couple of months. Actually, I found motivation in it. I knew that if I just kept myself where I was and didn’t even focus on improving, just keeping myself in my groove, I would already be in a good spot. Anything on top of that would just be icing on the cake. I’d spent three months building myself up, both mentally and physically, and that is the exact wrong time to stop.
consistency is the key
When my next semester started, I saw all the people around me trying to prepare themselves for the semesters that lay before them. I saw people dreading the course work to come and teammates tripping over themselves in the warm up jogs. I then looked at myself and saw that I was more prepared for a semester than ever. No first day jitters, no dreading the first homework assignment, and was able to even get an early jump on my reading assignments.
Since then there has never been a doubt in my mind what I need to do each day. From month to month or year to year my goals have changed, and will continue to change, but now I wake up and continue along my path. Striving to accomplish what I started the day before and always moving forward.