derek bobo: one foot in front of the other

Kristy and I were watching Parenthood not too long ago. The episode opened up with a great scene with Zeek talking to Ryan. It goes something like this:

Ryan: It's not working. I'm waiting for everything to get better and it's not. I'm stuck.

Zeek: That's it?

Ryan: Yeah.

Zeek: What are you going to do about it? You start with a little thing. No matter how inconsequentual it is. Anything. Something small. Something you can take care of. Beginning. Middle. End. Task completed.

That dialog got me thinking about a techinique that helps me sometimes.

Those of you who know me know that I have relentless focus and willpower once I've set my sights on something. It's a characteristic I've always been proud of, but admittedly I can also be a negative if not channeled in the right direction. For now I'd like to focus on the more positive aspect of it and a technique that I often use to get motivated or overcome some sort of adverse situation.

I spent some time dabbling with boxing while I was in college. During this time I was probably in the best shape of my life, but it certainly did not come easy. I was engaged, working, and going to school full time. Adding training to this mix left me with a full plate and often times feeling exhausted. My workout routine consisted of running a few miles before class each day, a second afternoon workout that rotated between upper and lower body, and then specific training in the evenings which consisted of shadow boxing, speed and heavy bag work, and sparing.

I've always been more of a night owl and this was especially true during my college years. This made getting up at 5 or 6 a.m., to run, very painful. After driving in town I'd get out of my car and try to do some stretching. I was usually completely exhausted and searching for any rationale excuse to skip my morning run, but I couldn't allow myself to do that. While I was out training my opponent was surely still in bed asleep. I had to do it.

I'd start by telling myself to just put one foot in front of the other. I would literally look down and watch my feet moving, one in front of the other. I would start slowly, little more than a walk, and just keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other. Gradually I'd gain speed and before I knew it, I was in full stride, with my car no longer in sight.

This technique has been successful for me ever since. Whenever I find myself in a situation that I'm dreading I'll simply remind myself to just put one foot in front of the other. Once you get moving it's usually not as hard as you originally thought and I'm almost always glad once I've finished. The toughest battle you face is going to be the one between your ears. It comes down to a simple choice: you're either going to do something ‐ succeed ‐ or not.

Break what seems insurmountable into smaller more manageable chunks. Pick something that you can act on, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Once the decision has been made you just put one foot in front of the other until you reach your goal.


28 First you must become
04 One Foot in Front of the Other
21 The Zen Master
08 Those You Spend Your Time With
19 You're Probably a Prepper
12 Anger Management
04 All About Choices
02 What I Know About Being a Dad (so far)
01 The Dalia Lama on Humanity
30 Time to Reflect
28 The Leeches Must Go
26 Take a Moment to Appreciate
26 A Matter of Perspective
19 The New Rich
17 The Story of the Mexican Fisherman
15 What's on your List
14 The Most Precious Resource
13 Three Things to be Happy
11 The Joneses
07 Be Intentional