What Effort Looks Like

Here’s a quick warning…If for some reason we find ourselves in the same gym working out and you see me on a treadmill, don’t get on the one next to me. If you do, you’ll probably be covered in my sweat after about 10 minutes.

Yes, I know it’s disgusting. Seriously, I sweat like a maniac when exercising—especially when I’m running.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s what I looked like today after a leisurely five mile run. If you look carefully, you’ll notice I only have one small dry part on my sweaty-ass shirt.

Okay, my intention for this post isn’t to repulse you with pictures of me of sweating. Instead, I want to use it to talk about effort. The idea for this post came to me as I was running on the treadmill looking around at other people in the gym. If you’ve ever worked out in a public setting then you’ll notice that a lot of people don’t really put much effort into their exercise routine.

So what is effort? Well, I feel effort has a number of qualities:

Effort Isn’t Always Pretty

As you can see from my sweaty picture, I’m not exactly impressing the ladies when I’m running. In fact, I’ve noticed that most sane people take one look at my sweat-covered treadmill and choose one that’s really far away from me.

When putting effort into a task, it isn’t important if you do it in a stylistic, attractive manner. As long as you’re getting the job done, it doesn’t matter how you look.

Effort Focuses on Long Term Goals

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I like to run marathons for fun. This type of activity requires months of training. Day in and day out, you have to go running….Even if you’re tired….or it’s raining out…or you’re busy with other stuff. The payoff of the marathon is at the end of 4 to 5 months of training you get to run 26 miles. Sounds fun, right?

With effort your focus should always be towards the future. You’re not worried about short term gains. In fact, you’re willing to make many immediate sacrifices in order to have success down the road.

Effort Isn’t Easy

It’s “game time” when I’m exercising. I don’t socialize with people. I don’t play grab-ass with my buddies. And I most certainly don’t waste my time in the gym. I’m there with one purpose in mind…work hard and improve my level of physical fitness. Sure it’s a bit strenuous, but stressing your body through exercise is a good thing to do.

It’s important to understand that effort won’t be easy. Anything you wish to achieve in life is going to require some good old fashioned hard work. You’re going to face obstacles as you try to accomplish your goals. The important lesson is to always focus on overcoming these obstacles and never give up.

Effort is a Process

One of the things I love about running is you can immediate feedback about your fitness level. After every run, you get an exact measurement about how far you went and how long it took you to do it.

The cool thing is each day you can push yourself a little bit more. You can try to go farther. You can try to go faster. Or you can try both.

When giving effort towards a task, it’s important to understand that you’ll never have overnight success. Typically your results will come from the daily grind of repeated effort. The good news is each day you have an opportunity to things a little bit better than the day before.


The definition of effort is The use of physical or mental energy to do something; exertion.” If you find that you’re doing something and it’s easy to accomplish then you’re definitely not trying very hard. Remember that the best things in life come from setting a goal and never giving up on it….that’s effort.

Take Action. Get Results.

6 thoughts on “What Effort Looks Like”

  1. As a runner myself…I say Amen and you’re right one with your analogy.

    And, well, I can relate to the whole sweating thing! I sweat like a pig and I’m a chick! I just tell people my body is really efficient at cooling itself!

  2. They say no pain no gain (but I don’t believe you neccessarily have to hurt to gain)….. but I do believe that no effort equals no progress, and no progress equals stagnation which equals death!

  3. @Yolanda- I’ve always been taught that women don’t sweat, they glisten. 🙂

    @Mick- You’re right. You definitely have to give at least a little bit of an effort. Nothing is ever going to be handed to you.

  4. Great post Steve!

    I’m a runner too and a running buddy and I were talking yesterday about the same thing. We both remarked on how the more effort you put in the more of the benefits you reap and the more benefit you reap the more effort you want to put in.

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