What Actually Matters

League of Wildness,

I wrote this article a few years back and posted it on our blog. (I suspect few of you have read it) I recently came back across the article and thought it was worth re-sharing. To add some flavor, I comment as the "2022 Dan" and how these ideas relate to my life in the present. I hope you enjoy!

The little things in life are what matter most.

I know that I myself, and many other people often focus on the 'big things' that are supposed to make us happier and more fulfilled. However, I believe that the opposite is true. Rather, it is the sum of a thousand little thoughts, actions, and decisions that lead to big outcomes.
>>2022 Dan: I still believe that this is true. As I've gotten older and the absolute sum of mistakes continues to grow I see a pattern emerging. When I do not give the small details the proper attention the mistakes tend to increase in both frequency and severity of the consequences.

What you eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner on a regular basis is what matters. If you regularly eat junk, you are going to get junky results. If instead you 'brown bag it' and bring your own lunch that you thoughtfully prepared and approach your nutrition like you are fueling a high-performance athlete, you will have more energy. This will lead to better workouts and ultimately better results.
>>2022 Dan: I love the 'brown bag' mentality. I'm astonished at how challenging it can be to find what I would consider to be a healthy meal when I eat out - especially in this day in age. I make it a habit to plan ahead and make sure I do not tempt myself into making nutritional choices that do not align with my nutritional values. In general, it's also more economical to bring your lunch to work and/or generally avoid eating out. It's not that I'm fundamentally opposed to eating out, I just do not want it to be a regular habit for myriad reasons.

Those few seconds of interaction when your spouse (or significant other) walks through the door in the evening matter. You can put in the effort to make them feel exceptionally welcome and missed, setting the trajectory for a pleasant night. Or, if you let your own stress/fatigue/frustrations inhibit a warm welcome, they may feel closed out and the night may be spent more distant.
>>2022 Dan: This one hits close to home. I am fully aware that I am far from being the perfect spouse. I have also experienced the flip side of the coin and have had a less than pleasant welcome home. I'd find it hard to believe that anyone reading this has NOT been both the villain and wounded at one point in time. Like many aspects of life, it's easy to get comfortable and take things for granted. With regard to relationships, the 'erosion' that occurs can be much harder to mend if the groves get too deep. To be clear - I consider myself to be a happily married guy. I also recognize that relationships take work and we can let our imaginations fool us into thinking the trivial is important.

During a long run, if you take the time to properly tie your shoes or stop to remove the small pebble that snuck in you will avoid getting blisters. This will help you run faster as well as significantly enhance your enjoyment of the experience.
>>2022 Dan: Another one where I'm kind of shaking my head going, yep - I get it. There are a lot of seemingly small things that in the moment do not necessarily matter. However, if you let them fester, over time the effect can be significant. The first thing that came to mind was cleaning my office. For longer than I want to admit my office was a mess and I would have been embarrassed to have anyone stop by. I finally couldn't take it anymore and did a superfund level cleanup. The feeling of being in the space completely changed - my work improved and I just felt better.

When you take an extra few minutes to warm up properly and stretch before a workout, you drastically reduce your likelihood of injury. Since you do not get injured, you do not miss training sessions and you become more fit.
>>2022 Dan: This holds true in a very literal sense. Getting injured while training is the complete antithesis of the practice. You can never fully eliminate risk, but you can certainly stack the chips in your favor. Plus, warming up will ultimately lead to a better training session so that you get the most return from your effort.

Choosing to do something instead of nothing, even when you are busy, tired, and stressed means that you have done infinitely more action that the converse. Even something as small as doing 1 rep per day for a year is 365 more reps than doing nothing. If you did 10 reps per day, that would be 3,650 reps more than zero.
>>2022 Dan: This article is the perfect example. I'm extremely busy and I could have just resent what I had already written without the additional commentary. No one would have known - except me. It feels good when others acknowledge your integrity, but it feels even better when you can acknowledge your integrity yourself.

When it comes to your wild-training, focus on consistently doing the little things. Consistently do a few sets of Squats, Rows, and Pushups first thing in the morning. Bring your pocket monkii to work and do 5 reps every time you walk through the door. Stretch for 2-minutes every night before you go to bed. Eat real food at every meal. Expose yourself to short bouts of hot and cold. Get outside when you can. Walk as much as possible. Keep stress low, get good sleep and simply be Wild.
>>2022 Dan: This makes me think of the concept that people overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do in a year. Life can truly be effortless if you are CONSISTENT at doing the small, relatively easy actions. Ironically, it's the being-consistent that is actually that biggest obstacle and not the actual action to be undertaken. Maybe it's because society has overvalued singular actions/accomplishments. It's way more exciting to say someone ran a marathon once than to say someone walked for 30 minutes every day for 5 years. Interestingly, in the latter example you would walk roughly 100 marathons over that time frame. The little things add up.

What is one little thing you can do today to set the momentum for tomorrow?

Thanks for reading and I'll see you out there!

-Wildman Dan

Reading next

How to Incorporate Athlete Mindset into Your Everyday Routine
The Wild Gym Guide to Improving Sleep Quality

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