Watch for opportunities to reset the bar for yourself
Once in while, life will send you opportunities to reset the bar. Stay alert, and ready to take advantage of them when they come along.
Resetting the bar means taking something that you have thought of as your limit, and challenging it in a way that proves it's no longer a limit for you.
Another way to say it: take what you think is the best you can do, and prove that you can do better.
A cold example
One habit I try to keep as part of my exercise regimen is chin-ups. I have a chin-up bar in my backyard underneath our treehouse.
It’s good exercise and I recommend it.
But - just between us - I had this mental limit about doing chin-ups: When the outside temperature gets below 50F I tended to avoid doing chin-ups.
For the longest time, I didn't even realize I was doing this.
I think I just assumed I was too busy. But one day I stopped and thought about it: it wasn't because I was having a really busy day. I realized I was avoiding it because I didn't like how the steel chin-up bar felt on my hands when it was cold.
Now you might think, "Ralph, why not just put some gloves on and go do the chin-ups anyway?"
Yeah, exactly. But this is how the excuse department in my mind works:
- "Oh, I can’t find the gloves."
- "Oh, I don’t like how the bar will feel on my hands."
- "It’s probably not good for my hands"
...and all this other nonsense that often stops us from doing what we want to do.
My Chance to Reset the Bar
When I woke up on Saturday, Christmas Eve, it was 9°F.
Something made me realize this was exactly the opportunity I needed to reset the bar.
I went outdoors and did my chin-ups with my bare hands on the cold steel chin-up bar.
Why? What did this accomplish?
Well, all through the rest of the year when it’s 25, or 32, or 48 I’ll know that I did chin-ups with my bare hands when it was 9.
I was just fine. And glad I did them.
When I'm tempted to think "Oh that bar is too cold, I hate doing chin-ups outside, feels so cold in my palms, etc, etc" I'll know: this is nothing. I did chin-ups with my bare hands when it was 9.
And the exciting thing is, this is just one way of many ways to reset the bar for yourself. You will probably discover many more! I'm curious about what other ways I'll learn how to reset the bar in the new year.
Resetting the bar can help sweep away the excuses so you can do the things you want to do consistently without hesitating.
What is your way of resetting your bar?
Suggested way to put this into action
3 minutes: Identify some of your self-imposed limits.
Use these questions to surface some self imposed limits you may not be aware of:
- I want to ______ but I haven't been doing it/succeeding at it.
- I intend to ________ regularly, but whenever _______ happens, I don't do it (or I quit).
- I think that it's not really possible for me to ____________.
2 minutes: pick one way you'll reset the bar soon
- What are a few ways I could try to push my limit on these items?
- Think about someone else you know, or know of, and ask this questions: How would they approach pushing / resetting this limit?
- What is one thing I will do today / this week to explore that limit and reset the bar for myself?
Excited? You should be! This is a powerful way to drive your learning, leadership, and love for life to the next level.