Embrace the Grind

Embrace the Grind

Alabama football coach Nick Saban

Some things in this world are a grind.

  • losing weight
  • being healthy
  • being successful at your job
  • writing a blog!
  • Anything where the end result is made up of dozens of choices throughout the day, day after day, month after month.

Coach Nick Saban

Nick Saban is a college football coach. He coached the LSU Tigers to the national championship in 2003. Then, after a brief stint coaching in the NFL, he came back to college to coach the Alabama Crimson Tide (LSU's rival), where he won the national championship in 2009 and 2011. And he's currently ranked #1 in the country again, after having just beaten LSU (again) last weekend.

Coach Saban was interviewed on the radio last month, and the host asked about how he can be so successful in a business which can be a such a grind - teaching players, teaching coaches, strategy with coaches, recruiting new players, scouting opponents, devising game plans, coordinating with student advisers, dealing with all the problems that come with a few dozen 18-22 year old boys, etc., etc.

His response: "Embrace the grind."

Achievement Goals vs Elimination Goals

If your goal is to exercise in the morning before work, you only need to battle your inner demons once - you wake up, and have to motivate yourself to get out of bed and get moving. That's it. One battle, and you're victorious for the day.

If your goal is to lose weight, and you're doing this by watching what you eat, you need to battle your inner demons all day long.

  • Bagel with cream cheese and a glass of orange juice? No, just a small bowl of cereal instead.
  • Mocha frappuccino on the way to work? No, small coffee, black.
  • Dave brought donuts into the office? No thanks, I'm fine.
  • Mid-morning snack at the vending machine? Nah, I'll just have a few almonds to hold me over 'till lunch.
  • Lunch with the group, and that pizza smells awesome.. I'll have the small garden salad with grilled chicken strips.
  • Afternoon blahs - a snickers and a Coke sound pretty good. No, better make it half an apple and a glass of tea.
  • Dinner - I'm hungry, and everything sounds good - I want it all. Wait a minute, stick with the plan - I'll have a small burger (with minimal sauces and bun) and a salad.
  • Dessert - I've got ice cream in the freezer, but I'll have a few grapes instead.

Wow - that's a long, exhausting day of winning battles. You don't win the day unless you win every battle. And you don't win your goal unless you win almost every single day, for several months in a row.. What a grind!

Embrace the grind. Know that every time you win a battle, you're on pace to achieve your goal. Relish in the victory, savor it, embrace it.

An Example

Your goal of losing 50 pounds over the next year? It amounts to losing a pound a week, which means you need to be at a calorie-deficit of 500 calories per day, every day, for a year.

A 30-year old female, 5' 3", weighing 170 pounds, needs approximately 1,750 calories to maintain weight. She can eat 1,250 per day to lose her pound per week, or she can eat slightly more if she mixes in some high intensity exercise.

It's a grind. Yes, there are milestones along the way - losing 10 pounds, getting below 150, losing 25 pounds, etc. But none of those stop the grind. Taking a day off, having a cheesecake celebration - anything like that only sets you back.

The grind equals success. Failure to embrace the grind, equals failure.

Embrace the grind.

-Chris Butterworth