You must be willing to make friends with boredom if you want to be great.
So what happens when the excitement and fun fades?
Do you stick with it? Or do you follow the path of most people and look for the next “exciting” pursuit?
It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. Most of us though, fail to repeat the activity long enough to actually create the habit.
We start strong. We’re excited about this new habit we’re going to build. We’re headed to the gym in our new workout shoes and motivational shirt. We’re powering on our laptop for the first day of our new business.
Day one has on FIRE for success.
Flash forward to day ten and that fire has flamed out or turned into a slow simmer.
Our 5am alarm clock is much easier to ignore for more sleep instead of getting up for the gym. Our Facebook feed is more entertaining to us than the sales calls we need to be making for our new business. We just aren’t as excited to repeat the habits we promised ourselves just ten days ago that we’d do every day.
By day thirty two – the beginning of just our second month – we’ve stopped trying to build the habit altogether.
We tell ourselves that “My heart’s just not into it anymore,” or “if it was my real passion, I’d always be on fire for it.” or (I’m sure you can insert the last excuse you used right here).
We get bored of the basic work and simply stop. Boring sucks. Excitement is where it’s at.
At least that’s what most people think.
In reality, boring – doing the same task repeatedly day after day – is essentially to succeeding. It’s the habit of building that positive action consistently that builds our foundation for success. Dating, a new job, a new workout – everything is exciting in the beginning! It’s brand new. Every feeling and experience is new and unfamiliar and we love it.
The first time we do a new step – like going to the gym, meal prepping our lunch, or reading for 15 minutes before bed – we align an emotional response of pride with our movement forward. “We’ve never done this before!” we think, so we can nod our head confidently, feeling good about our action.
But after doing it so many times, we lose that emotional response and start to see our habit as “just another thing” and it starts to bore us. It’s why the excitement you felt on Day 1 isn’t quite as high on Day 10, and is almost non-existent on Day 50.
You’ve repeated the habit so many times that it’s nothing “new” and you don’t get the same reward from completing the action. You become bored.
And boredom derails many of our chances for success.
College football coach Hal Mumme is known for saying that success is having “a great capacity for boredom.” You’ve got to be willing to work the same plays, the same steps, the same catches every single day for months on end in order to be great at them.
You’ve got to be willing to meal prep every day for months in order to hit your weight-loss goals. You’ve got to be willing to go to the gym on the mornings you aren’t excited (or even dread it) in order to hit your fitness goals. You’ve got to be willing to embrace the boring work in order to build your best life.
A podcast host asked me the other day what I felt was one of the biggest keys to success that most people miss.
“Mindset,” I said. “And not just an optimistic or relentless mindset – but one that’s willing to focus on what boring thing they need to do today to be in a better position tomorrow.”
Someone who can do the basic, boring work day after day is something who has the stickwithitness to seize their exciting future success. Most people can’t stick with the pursuit because they want every step to be exciting.
Champions are ok with boring – because it’s the boring work that builds their championships.