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Shortcut to Success…

By Natalie Peterson MS, CSCS

There are no shortcuts.

Even though I know better, I still try to find them. When thinking about shortcuts, I realized that there are so many areas in my life that it is tempting to take a shortcut. For example:

In traffic on my way home

Especially when I am on my way home from work, I try to get into the lane on the highway that is moving the fastest lane at that particular moment. Or, I try to guess whether exiting early and cutting around on side streets will get me to where I want to go, faster. Those extra few seconds won’t seem worth it when I get into an accident because I was in a hurry. I often ask myself, couldn’t I just relax? Turn on a podcast and learn something on my ride home? I mean after all, my ride is guaranteed to take me about 45 minutes no matter how hard I try to cut it short!

When Training

When lifting, trying to get my squat weight up to what it was before I started training for my half marathon and stopped heavy lifting so that I could focus more on my running program. Or, cutting out my physical therapy exercises that I know are a crucial part of my routine that I need to patiently implement in order to to build a strong foundation. I find myself skipping them at times to just to ‘get going faster’ – but where am I going exactly? Without those exercises I am on the road to injury.

When It Comes To My Nutrition

With my diet, at times cutting out silly things that I know are healthy and great for my body just because they might have “high levels of fructose” and therefore be “higher in carbohydrates”. If I cut those carbs, ill get to my goal faster. When I get to that goal by cutting out all these healthy foods, then what?

In My Career

In my career, looking at others successes and comparing my journey to theirs. Not taking the time to remember that my beginning is their middle. And instead, waging an internal battle with myself that I am not doing enough, maybe I don’t have what it takes, if I am “not there” by now, will I ever be?

On top of what we may do to ourselves, there are so many shortcuts being offered to us every day from so many avenues.

  • Diet pills that claim – don’t give up the foods you love and still lose fat
  • Get rich quick schemes that promise you financial freedom
  • Plastic surgeries to ‘fix’ what is wrong with you
  •  Medications that treat the symptom but not the cause
  • 1-day long certifications that give you permission to market your mastery in a subject without any practice

This list could continue, but I think you know what I mean.

So why do we consistently look for short cuts? This is not a malicious action, or a cheating act, but it is one that actually slows us down on the path to reaching any goal.

I think that there is something in all of us that craves accomplishment and even greater, self-actualization and freedom from the feeling that we are always on an up-hill climb.

The up-hill climb however is what makes us genuinely and authentically who we are. Each step you take up the mountain of your life builds your strength and creates experiences and stories that you can use to help others.

The great news is that we don’t have to be at the ‘top’ of the mountain to give back and help people who are not as far along in their journey as we are in our own. If you turn around and look there is someone right behind you.  Someone that would benefit from the lessons you learned through an experience that you have already gone through. In fact, to someone who is dedicated to life-long growth, the top of that mountain does not exist. Not unless you reach heaven.

So my encouragement to you and to myself is to stop looking at what other people are doing and negatively comparing ourselves to them. Instead, look at what they are doing and learn from them. Do what they do. Implement their best practices into your life.

If you want to be stronger, take the opportunity of each workout to do just 1 thing you could not do in your last workout. Rep out 1 more pushup, run ½ a second faster than last time, stretch for an extra 5 minutes.

If you want to have a healthier lifestyle, what is 1 thing that you can change today? Go to bed ½ hour earlier, drink ½ your body weight in oz of water, eat protein at all of your meals. Pick just one thing. Don’t try to change your entire life in one day, one week or even one month. Master each step.

If you want to become an expert in a specific field or topic what is just one thing that can be done today, this week or this month that will help you get there? Download a podcast, listen to a webinar, sign up for a live event, order a book online.

When it comes to becoming a better version of yourself, this IS happening over-night. But it is happening in such small ways that in order for them to gain the momentum that leads to the big changes we must take the time to notice them and celebrate all of our small successes along the way. What small thing did you do better today than yesterday?

For me, today on my way home I listened to a podcast, I did my physical therapy exercises before running, and I wrote this article to try and help just one person.

Dedicate yourself to your journey whatever that may be, avoid the temptation of shortcuts and enjoy the ride.

In Balance & Strength,


P.S – After writing this blog last night, I made myself some Yogi tea – The picture below was the beautiful message I received on my tea bag.  #listentotheuniverse



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