Routine: Purposeful Sacrifice That Moves You Forward

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Boundaries Are Freeing? 

I remember my parents saying that they gave me a curfew because they loved me. At 16, that made zero sense. "If you loved me," I thought, "you'd let me stay out as late as I wanted."

Fast forward to my Freshman year in college, where I could eat brown sugar POP Tarts and Poppa Johns pizza at 3 am. It was fantastic to make my own decisions. I wouldn't get in trouble if I slept through a class or if I balled up my clothes and threw them in a corner. I felt a certain sense of freedom.

About ¾ of the way through my Freshman year, I noticed I was making absolutely zero positive gains physically and that my grades were slipping badly. I was working out sporadically, cramming for tests the night before, eating El Burrito Loco a few times a week, and taking naps in between pranking friends. So why wasn't I ripped? Why didn't I have a better GPA?

I hadn't discovered what every successful person knows: growth requires purposeful sacrifice.

This idea isn't mind-blowing to read, but it answered my problem. And maybe yours.

I wanted results. I didn't want to struggle, leading to the next piece closely tied to purposeful sacrifice.


Restrictions Move You & Cars Forward

I'm not a car guy; that's why God made Father In-laws. But, follow me for a minute on this analogy anyway: An internal combustible engine is most likely inside your vehicle. And according to, "an internal-combustion engine is a heat engine in that it converts energy from the heat of burning gasoline into mechanical work, or torque. That torque is applied to the wheels to make the car move."

So what?

Guess what would happen if the manufacturer said, "let's free engines of cylinders. They're too restrictive." You wouldn't have heat. Which means you wouldn't have torque. And your vehicle wouldn't move.

The same is true when you want to get somewhere personally or professionally. You must put reasonable restrictions in place to build energy that moves you forward.

(Someone's going to say, "cool, I have a Tesla, soooo." Battery analogy coming soon...😬)


There are no shortcuts.

Consistent hard work over a sustained period leads to positive results.

Putting that together means having restraint on things that satisfy at the moment to obtain something that satisfies long term.

If you don't put boundaries on yourself, you will not realize your potential.

Here are 11 examples:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Building wealth
  3. Getting good grades
  4. Running a marathon
  5. Retiring early
  6. Writing a book
  7. Owning a business
  8. Having a healthy marriage
  9. Being a parent that's present
  10. Living a life of integrity
  11. Increasing in just about anything positive  

Practical Options for Your Routine  

About five years ago, I was at a breakfast thing where you sit with people you don't know. There were about eight of us at my table getting to know each other, talking about usual surface stuff. A guy to my right generally asked what books people were reading—the guy to my left answered the question he wanted us to ask.

"I get up every morning at 4 am, every day of the week. Exercise and then read for an hour. I encourage each of you to do the same."

Bruce Lee yeah right guy

Good for you if that's your routine. I'm not that guy.


Options for jumpstarting your routine

  • Sick of not hitting your goals? Commit to getting 1% better every day and chase an identity vs. an accomplishment. (Image from "Atomic Habits" by James Clear-get that book)
  • Are you struggling to get exercise in? Do a wall sit while brushing your teeth 1x a day.
  • Want to read more? Pick an interest, download audio, listen for 5-10 minutes while driving/doing dishes/getting clothes ready.
  • Suck at saving money? Set up bi-weekly auto transfers to a suffix called "Doesn't exist."
  • Family time slipping? Movie night on Wednesday after family dinner.
  • Want to increase mental toughness? Take a cold shower in the morning 1x week.
  • Are you not drinking enough water? Purchase a gallon water bottle, fill it each night before bed and leave it in a prominent place.
  • Have a goal of running a ½ marathon? Download the program I followed with my buddy Tim and ask someone to do it with you.

Routine is not the enemy. Bad routine is the enemy. Determine what's worth sacrificing for and use purposeful limitations to propel you toward your desired state.

Knowing what to do is the easy part. Acting is where the magic happens.


Need more? 

You weren't made to do this on your own. Check out the IOL Community Groups to connect with like-minded leaders!

Check out our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.  

If you're looking to take your growth as a leader to the next level, we've got you covered. Join the Impact of Leadership Community today!


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