I have a saying that runs through my head every single morning, as soon as my alarm goes off. And I’ve said it so often and for so long now, that it automatically pops into my head the minute I open my eyes.
Here it is: Get up, show up, do the work.
These three little phrases are like gold to me, and they’re especially powerful when I feel unmotivated. They help me ignore the voice in my head that tells me how hard it feels and how long it’s going to take, and they distill the path to success down to three simple actions: Get up. Show up. Do the work.
All too often, we let the weight of dreading something or the perceived burden of it stop us from even getting started. We make everything a lot harder than it needs to be, just by building up all this resistance to it even before we even start.
And the crazy thing is, nothing ever takes as long as you thought it would or is as bad as you think it’s going to be. Like when you don’t feel like working out, because you think it’s going to be miserable, so you skip it. But how often if you just show up do you actually have a pretty decent (if not amazing) workout? Almost always.
Here’s how this little saying works to prevent all that:
- It drowns out all the layered-on BS that goes through your head — I don’t feel like it, this is going to suck, it’s going to take forever — that keeps you from taking action. This is critically important, because that voice of resistance is the main reason you don’t do the things you most need to do to be successful.
They help you focus on the necessary actions — and there really aren’t that many. You have to shift your focus away from the feelings you have and on to what you need to do. And these simple words help you do it right away, before your feelings (tiredness, apathy, dread) get in the way.
They leave you no other option but to just get right to it. Literally, all you have to do is get up, show up, and do it. It’s like having a friendly drill sergeant in your head who gives you your marching orders.
We tend to think that it’s the really big changes we make that bring us success, but I don’t think that’s true. I believe that it’s the small actions, made consistently over time, that bring you massive results. It’s the seemingly insignificant steps we take, added up together, that blow everything out of the water.
It may not feel like that 10-minute treadmill run makes much of a difference, so you rationalize not working out because you didn’t sleep that great or you need to get the laundry done.
But a bunch of 10-minute runs, added together over a few week’s time, make a very big difference — in your mood, in your skin, and in your waistline. If you just get up and show up, you’ll end up doing the work. Don’t even think about it.
By the way, the showing up part is the key to everything. More often than not, you’ll surprise yourself with how much easier it was than you thought it would be. And you’ll probably end up enjoying it a lot more than you thought you would.
It doesn’t have to be this amazing, awesome effort, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Something is always better than nothing.
Plus, when you show up — especially when you don’t feel like it — you learn how to practice being consistent. Then showing up becomes a habit, and then you’re guaranteed to succeed.
So show up to the gym, get on the treadmill, and you’ll end up having a good workout. Show up in your kitchen, wash the vegetables, and you’ll end up making — and enjoying — a healthy meal. I do this every time I write one of these posts. I show up to my desk and open the laptop, and the blog post starts pouring out of me. (Well, most of the time.)
That brings me to an important point: the more you show up in every area of your life, the easier it is to show up for the things that will help you change your body. Just take the laundry out of the dryer, and start folding it. Open the laptop, and type one sentence. Get dressed and show up to work. Make it a habit.
Conquering the resistance is the hard part — everything after that is easy. If you wait until you feel like it, you’ll never do it. But if you go ahead and do it, then you’ll feel like it. And it will probably end up being amazing.
All you have to do is get up and show up. The work will take care of itself.