*beep* *beep* *beep*
The piercing sound of the alarm echoing in my ears.
The time? 5am.
"Is it that time already?" I groaned.
Tired... I rolled out of bed and put on my workout clothes.
As you’re reading this… you might be thinking… “That's crazy!”
And if you told me that back then… I would've probably said "No... I'm committed!"
My response now is a little different… “It was.”
Back in the day…
I used to live in a house share and we would all get up to work out at 5am.
Every… single… morning. Seven days a week…
We would workout for an hour… then start working.
Most nights I wouldn’t go to bed until midnight… so you can only imagine what was happening to my body.
Getting on average 5 to 6 hours sleep… working out every day… AND doing a full day of work.
Looking back on it now it all seems rather silly. And while I have some funny memories…
I would never do it again.
Why on earth did you get up at 5am every day?
So the question you might be thinking about is… “Why on earth DID you do it then?”
My answer? I had high expectations of myself… and what I wanted to achieve.
This has always been true. And while I have no intention of removing this part of me…
I can go overboard if I’m not careful. But how damaging was this little routine of mine?
Well besides the fact that my body wasn’t recovering… I was sleep deprived…
Over time I started to build up a negative association to working out.
Each morning... it slowly stopped feeling like fun… and started to feel like a burden.
The workouts physically (and mentally) became harder to do.
My heart wasn’t in it. I was resisting doing the work.
This was the damaging effect of having high expectations of myself.
But the problem is… it doesn’t just happen with working out...
This problem extends to everything in life… even guitar.
All too often I see people setting high expectations on themselves.
They want to learn guitar in an unrealistic time frame…
They think they should be practicing more than the need to…
They expect themselves to practice more than they're able to.
They feel like they should be some guitar progress champion… always getting better.
And if they aren’t… they feel like a failure… or somehow broken.
It's important to know that these kinds of high expectations can be damaging.
Over time they can take the fun out of guitar…
You can become negative toward the idea of guitar and music.
So... what’s the solution?
You probably know the answer already...
Lower your expectations… a little.
Don’t get me wrong… it’s great to want to achieve big things in life.
Having that outcome in mind is great. But believing that you’ll achieve it tomorrow…
Or feeling bad because you can't put an unrealistic amount of time in isn’t.
I want you to become great on guitar (whatever that means to you)...
But I want you to do it in a way that’s realistic for you.
This is why I like to use the “10 Minute Rule.”
I know if I have a busy day… I can always make 10 minutes of time to sit with the guitar.
And if I have more time… I can always choose to do more. But the expectation was only 10 minutes…
Everything else feels like a bonus.
This is how you keep practicing manageable… fun… and something to look forward to.
How you keep improving without feeling overwhelmed.
If you’d like to… spend some time this week using the “10 Minute Rule” as the expectation for your practice.
Let me know how it goes for you too 🙂
That’s all from me today.
Darryl “no longer doing 5am workouts” Powis