Here at The Self-Aware Man I talk a lot about baby steps: small things you can phase into your life to build good long term habits without the jarring suddenness of a major lifestyle change. Make breakfast every day. Quick, easy workouts. Setting alarms for daily reminders. These are all palatable tasks that evolve into muscle memory with a dash of persistence and a pinch of patience.

I stand by those techniques, but sometimes we need something bigger. Sometimes we need to show ourselves we’re capable of a grand gesture of discontent with our lives. Sometimes baby steps just aren’t cutting it.

Sometimes you have to fucking jump.

This evening I went for a run. I’ve been pussy-footing around exercise for the past few months with little to speak of in terms of results. A mile here, a push up there – nothing that would constitute a legitimate work out, especially when you consider the low frequency with which I was partaking.

Tonight was different. Tonight I planted my feet in the ground and embarked on a 7 mile giddy-up through the long-shadowed streets of Seattle. I haven’t run more than two miles in over a year when my friend Adam and I used to crush man-runs up, over and around San Francisco’s uneven terrain. You can imagine the toll such a hiatus took on my aging bones. My bum knee seized up around mile 3 and every breath shot razor blades through my constricted airways, but I had to keep going.

I had to show my self I was capable of pushing through pain and, more importantly, doubt.

Hold on. Let’s back up.

I can identify on one hand how many times I’ve thrown caution to the wind and took a massive leap of faith. It’s never worked out the way I planned it too, but that’s not the point. The point is that in order for something, anything to happen there has to be a first move. There has to be a grand gesture that says: “fuck this shit, I deserve better,” and it almost always has to happen in spite of some deeply rooted doubt we have about ourselves. Whatever actually happens after that point is moot. If you inhibit and embrace change, something will change.

Do I consider this 7 mile run to be a massive shift in my life? No. But it does constitute a sizable hurdle that effectively rid my psyche of some amount of doubt. I’m excited again about working out and about making it a regular part of my routine.

Continue to do things that act as self-proven accomplishments and your confidence will swell and your life will gain momentum. Doing nothing does nothing. Small steps help. Big steps are better.

But sometimes you just have to fucking jump.

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Peter Secan

Peter Secan

Peter is an architectural designer, freelance writer, and creator of The Self Aware Man. He wants to use this blog to share his thoughts and experiences, and much of his power is derived from the baldness of his head. He currently freelances for several blogs, including BusyBoo, Easy Render and Games Like Zone.

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