Consistency in the Fundamentals

We can ignore the fundamentals for a time, but eventually, that behavior catches up to us and suddenly we find ourselves on a downward spiral. Consistency in the fundamentals is crucial.

Title Photo by Wellness Gallery Catalyst Foundation

Groundhog’s Day!

One of my favorite movies is “Groundhog’s Day”. It isn’t because it has some of my favorite actors, including Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. (And how about that Phil – especially when he was driving the truck!) It isn’t because it has breathtaking cinematography — it doesn’t. And it isn’t because of the music — the same few bars of “I Got You, Babe” played over and over and over.

The movie’s concept is intriguing. Bill Murray, who plays a TV weatherman, is assigned once again to travel to Puxatawny, PA to cover Puxatawny Phil on Groundhog’s day. He is not happy with this assignment. In fact, he is very unhappy and he goes out of his way to make others unhappy. Actually, he’s pretty much a jerk, arrogant and insecure. To top off his day, he, the producer, and the cameraman get snowed in and can’t get out of Puxatawny so they have to spend another night.

The strangeness begins when he wakes up the next day. He hears the same music on the radio and the same chatter from the DJs. He looks out his bedroom window and sees the same people and vehicles he saw the day before. Downstairs, someone wishes him happy Groundhog’s day (again) and he finds himself having the same conversations. He relives Groundhog’s day and again gets snowed in and stranded in Puxatawny.

This goes on day after day. Day after day, he relives the same Groundhog’s day. He tries to explain to other people what is happening to him, but of course, no one believes it. At first, he is excited — “I don’t have to live by their rules anymore!” — and he spends his time looking for cheap thrills. He is attracted to his producer (Andie MacDowell) and he tries to manipulate her into falling for him. It never works, though, and he ends a number of Groundhog’s days by getting his face slapped. Finally, ennui and boredom set in as his fate becomes more and more apparent. He turns to suicide, making several different attempts. But he always wakes up the next morning to Groundhog’s day! The turning point comes as he visits with his producer and tries to teach her a game — tossing playing cards into a hat. He has done this so often, he can get them in every time. “Is this how you spend eternity?” she asks him.

From that point, he begins to change. He takes piano lessons. He learns Italian. Finally, he spends his day in productive ways, helping others, even saving the mayor’s life by performing the Heimlich when he is choking at dinner. He is the toast of the town at the Groundhog’s day party. Only after his transformation is complete does the producer fall for him and he finally moves on to the next day.

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Consistency in the Fundamentals

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ~ Jim Rohn

Groundhog’s Day, the movie that is, is a wonderful metaphor, that’s why I like it so much. I am inspired each time I watch it because it reminds me that a person can be anyone she wants to be if she approaches it in small steps — one day at a time. To all the people around him, it seemed that Bill Murray’s character changed in a day. But he knew he changed and developed by making small changes over many, many, many days, even though to him it was the same day. It’s like the “overnight success” who has put in 10, 15, 20 years or more, then suddenly becomes famous.

Paying attention to the fundamentals and consistently doing them, whether that be practicing the piano, learning Italian, or taking care of yourself, is what leads to success (however you define it). And it’s necessary if you want to embrace your Excelerated Life™.

What Are the Fundamentals?

“I like to think of our fundamentals on two different levels: the universal and the specific.” ~ Brian Johnson

The “universal fundamentals” are those things we talk about (a lot) and typically what we refer to when we talk about the Excelerated Fundamentals™: sleeping, moving, and eating.

First, there’s sleep. Sleep has been called the “cornerstone of recovery”. In fact, it is the foundation upon which the other two fundamentals stand, because, without sleep, it’s difficult to focus on the other two. “Research points to links between poor sleep and ill health. Adequate sleep is one of the fundamentals of the good health which is essential for us to flourish and to live a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.” [Why Sleep Matters]

Check here for some ideas on how to sleep better.

Movement is the next universal fundamental. Think “movement” instead of “exercise”. Keep in mind that how you choose to be active makes a difference. Working out in the morning and then sitting at your desk the rest of the day doesn’t cover the fundamental need. You must find ways to move throughout the day.

A person can exercise and still be sedentary. It’s important to move your body – not only during a daily workout or a 30-minute-three-times-a-week routine – but during the rest of your day. Here are some ideas for adding movement to your daily routine.

Finally, there is the fundamental of eating. Food is fuel. Excellent food, excellent fuel. Good food, good fuel. Poor food, poor fuel. What are you fueling your wonderful body with?

You can start today, right now, to begin making small changes in the way you eat, as you move to a healthier diet. Start with one of the changes listed here and take a small step to improve and begin making the change. Then take the next step, then the next. Soon, you will be eating healthier and feeling it in the amount of energy you have and well-being you feel. Small, incremental improvements, step by step, lead to massive improvements over time. It’s the power of consistency in the fundamentals.

Your Unique Fundamentals

OK, that covers the universal fundamentals of sleeping, moving, and eating that apply to all of us. In addition to these universal fundamentals, we also have unique fundamentals that relate to our individual aspirations. These fundamentals will differ from occupation to occupation and from person to person. A teacher’s unique fundamentals are different from a musician’s. A student is different from a VP of sales. The secretary is different from the minister. Carpenters are different from writers and an artist is different from a first responder. We all benefit from attending to the universal fundamentals, getting enough sleep, moving our bodies, and eating (mostly) whole, fresh foods but we cannot do our best work unless we also focus on our unique fundamentals.

So what are your unique fundamentals? What must you do on a daily basis to be the best __________ (fill in the blank) you can be?

There Are No Shortcuts

When it comes to focusing on your fundamentals – unique and universal – there are no shortcuts. You can cheat on a test and get a good grade temporarily. But you miss the learning and you risk being found out as someone lacking integrity. You can pad your résumé with jobs you never held and education you never received. But you risk being caught out and fired. You can threaten your kids and get them to do what you want right now. But you are liable to permanently damage your long-term relationship with your children.

You can ignore the fundamentals, look for shortcuts and get by for a while. But these methods do not bring lasting success.

For lasting success and positive impact, you must know what your fundamentals are, then do them consistently.

consistency in the fundamentals
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

Consistency in Your Fundamentals

First, you must know what your fundamentals are. What are yours? What do you need to take care of in the areas of sleep, movement, and eating to be at your best? Then what are your unique fundamentals? What must you do on a regular basis to be at the top of your game?

To be consistent in your fundamentals, focus on the basics. Getting back to basics means paying attention to and perfecting the tiny details of your work and your life as an employer or employee, as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend, as a citizen of the world.

Continue to focus on the fundamentals, your own unique fundamentals, and the universal fundamentals of good health – eating, moving, and sleeping. Determine the practices that are essential for your optimal performance and your well-being. However remember that knowing the basics that are important to you is necessary but, by itself, isn’t enough. You have to act. You have to actually do the practices.

What Do I Do Now?

To get started, let’s focus on two fundamentals – one universal and one unique. Identify the one fundamental practice of eating, moving, or sleeping that could have an impact. Then find one tiny improvement you can make.

This is a Universal fundamental that I can improve: _____________.
This is how I’m going to improve on it: ____________________________________________.

Now focus on your unique fundamentals. Again, identify one practice you want to improve and the tiny step you’ll take.

This is a Unique fundamental that I can improve: _____________.
This is how I’m going to improve on it: ____________________________________________.

Bringing Consistency to Your Fundamentals

“Remember that small, incremental improvements, taken step by step, lead to massive improvements over time. Focus on the fundamentals to maintain a strong foundation for your life.” [Why Sleep Matters]

The universal fundamentals of good health – getting adequate and ample rest, moving your body to keep it active, and eating the right amount and right kinds of fuel for your body – are absolutely essential to flourish and to live a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose. These are universal because they apply to all of us. But we each have unique fundamentals that apply to our lives and our work and these are necessary as well if we are to live our best lives.

There are no shortcuts. We can ignore the fundamentals for a time, but eventually, that behavior catches up to us and suddenly we find ourselves on a downward spiral. Consistency in the fundamentals is key. It’s how you begin to embrace your Excelerated Life™!

What is one of your unique fundamentals?
What small step could you take to begin improving on it today?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Excelerated Fundamentals™ — perfecting basic self-care practices — is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing and well-being, and a life of meaning, purpose, and service.

Read more about the Excelerated Life.

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