Last week we looked at Preparation as being the first step in keeping your resolutions in 2012, referencing Tim Tebow as a model of great preparation.
In case you were on another planet this week, Tebow pulled off the best performance of his NFL career, leading his underdog Broncos to an upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Preparation is paying off.
After you’ve prepared yourself by identifying your motivations, resources and barriers, I won’t lie to you, this next step is going to take some serious work. It’s time to focus on breaking down the barriers standing in your way and building up a new you with a clear focus and a consistent routine.
Breaking Barriers like Brees
As in Drew Brees, one of the hardest working and most dedicated athletes in professional sports.
Let’s talk barriers. Earlier this year, when football fans were sweating bullets at the prospect of not having an NFL season, Brees took matters into his own hands. He organized and paid for team practices when he technically had no team to play for.
Offensive guard Carl Nicks considers Brees’s work ethic as second to none.
“He’s not of this world,” says Nicks. “You’ve got a guy who practices what he preaches. He’s the first one to practice and the last to leave. If you don’t do anything but watch him, you’re going to get better.
Despite the naysayers, the heart and soul of the New Orleans Saints earned his record breaking season by putting in more time Monday through Saturday than any other player in the NFL.
Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey, a physical specimen in his own right, has tried unsuccessfully to outwork the undersized quarterback.
“I cannot beat him here, ” Shockey said. “He’s here very early. I’ve been here every day at about 6 o’clock, and he’s beaten me here.”
Coaching staff and trainers can attest that Brees is always the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. He sets a standard for his teammates, making it clear that the leader works harder than everyone else. His personal motto says it all:
“I will not be denied. I will not fail”
Building a Routine of Excellence
World renowned fitness expert Todd Durkin has trained some of the best NFL players in the game today, including Aaron Rodgers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Reggie Bush. In his eyes though, none of them can compare to Brees when it comes to sheer work ethic and discipline. In an interview posted on Durkin’s website, the trainer explains what sets Brees apart:
“One of the best stories about Drew is the oft-told story about how he came back from major shoulder surgery when everyone doubted whether he would come back at all. Drew never doubted that he would be back in the NFL again after he suffered that devastating injury in 2005. That’s always one of my favorite stories. I guess one of the more recent stories that I can share is when Drew won almost every ESPY award in July and we went out and had a great time afterwards. But of the athletes, there was only one person up the next morning at 7AM and that was Drew Brees. And that’s consummate Drew. I was training him in the gym at 7AM the day after the ESPYs – the morning after there were a lot of parties and hoopla afterwards. But Drew is so disciplined in his approach that despite his busy schedule with appearances, endorsements, community involvement and everything he does, he never lets those things be a distraction. He continues to do what he needs to do to be in the best shape of his life and compete at a world-class level.”
The devastating injury Durkin is referring to was the shoulder separation Brees suffered in the final game of the 2005 season. The damage was so severe that it brought with it a 360-degree torn labrum, a partially torn rotator cuff and capsule damage. Basically, every piece of tissue that allows you to throw. No small obstacle for a professional quarterback.
Needless to say, few people believed he would even play again. Brees on the other hand, set two modest goals for himself.
1. Become the NFL comeback player of the year
2. Win league MVP
Early on in the process, Brees would show up at Durkin’s house in the mornings to practice throwing again. Five yards at a time. Slowly, painfully, and consistently building himself up to be even better than he was before the injury.
Break and Build
Those are the keys to conquering barriers.
Break down the elements of your goals and your perceived barriers into small, manageable, 5-yard chunks of action. Consistently work on those small steps until you’ve reached a milestone. Reward yourself. Then up the ante and keep moving forward to the next level.
Build on your progress with a steady routine that allows you to slowly reach your goal while developing a better, stronger you in the process.
Work It – Take Action
Read. Check out the STACK magazine article on the Rebuilding of Drew Brees. And if you’re feeling really brave, take a stab at his workout routine.
Write.Write down all of the barriers related to your goal on a single sheet of paper. Everything you can think of that is preventing you from getting to where you want to be. Simply writing them out is an important part of breaking them down in pieces you can crush. On a separate sheet of paper write down, in as much detail as you can, the regular (hourly, daily, weekly) actions you will take to defeat those barriers.
Reflect.Talk to a friend, teammate or family member that has overcome some major barriers and listen to their story. Take notes on the specific tactics they used in their own situation and determine if there is anything you can use for your own resolutions.