I should, I will, I can’t, I will
Fitness, health and wellness includes more than just what happens inside the gyms walls. CrossFit in particular encourages you to always learn new sports, try new things and learn new skills. Several new motivational signs are being added to our walls. One new sign is up in the office at the gym, “Results or Excuses, you can’t have both.” For many years, I lived a life of excuses – I’m too tired, I’ll start tomorrow, I’m too nervous, I don’t know how to do that. I first walked into Crow River almost 3 years ago, full of what I couldn’t do and what I was afraid to do. Full of those excuses. I’d had a gym membership previously and hardly ever went. If my alarm went off in the morning, I’d roll over and hit snooze and think I’ll go tonight, I’m too tired right now. Then after work, I’m too tired, or it got too late or I’m hungry. I could always think of an excuse. And I had excuses everywhere else in my life. So what changed? I will. Instead of: I should. And I wrote it down, and I wrote down why I will do it. Have you ever noticed how things seem more real if you write it down instead of just think about it?
The feeling of accomplishing something new, learning a new skill or setting a personal record (PR) carries over outside of the gym. You start thinking you can tackle anything else in life with the same approach. When you climb to the top of the mountain, hike to the bottom of a canyon, lift a barbell overhead for the first time and realize that you did it – it’s a powerful moment. And it doesn’t have to be a mountain, it can be the first box jump. Staring down a box when you haven’t tried jumping onto anything since you were eight years old is scary. Can I do this? And those excuses are usually quick to jump in with any reason why you can’t and shouldn’t try today. And maybe you start with a small plate, a couple of inches high, build your confidence. In time, you stare down that box again but this time you think “I’m going to do it today”. And you just do it. You can see the hard work you put in, the setbacks that maybe delayed you but didn’t stop you, and you put your next foot forward to do it again. When you walk out, you leave behind the mountain, but take with you the confidence of what you conquered. The mindset and skills you build in the gym can help you take any setback or obstacle in life and give you the confidence to do so.
As I’m coaching or working with people, I hear a lot of “I can’t do that.” And maybe you can’t today or tomorrow, but I want to look at is what can you do. And why you think you can’t do that. A common one I’ve heard is “I can’t do a handstand.” Okay, let’s talk first about fitness and look at your wall walk. If you’ve got the strength for it, the number one reason for someone to say “I can’t” is fear. Fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of the movement. So with the handstand, if you’ve got the strength and positioning, let’s find some extra padding, add a spotter or two and build your confidence from the wall walk into a handstand. It’s my favorite part of coaching, even if someone doesn’t get it right away, it’s building the skills and confidence for the future to turn the “I can’t,” into “I can.”
I mentioned going rock climbing for fun to someone recently (not a gym member) and they very quickly replied, “Oh, I’m too old for that.” This started me thinking, are we really getting too old for new sports, new adventures and trying things? Most of the time, we are not too old! It is an excuse. Now, there may be many other reasons not to try something right away, you need to have a foundational base to prevent injury (similar to the box jump scenario, you may need to start with small steps and not leap onto the wall). Instead of thinking about being too old – identify the real reason why. And what can you do today? What will you do today? Start with what can you do – maybe you can start by arriving a few minutes earlier to your office so you can always take the stairs. Build from where you are. Tomorrow you will be able to say “I did” instead of “I should have.”
Excuses are easy. Results are not. If you want results, it’s going to take work. It’ll take time – what you define as your goal and what result you want will help determine what it will take to get there. Do you catch yourself skipping the day when snatches are programmed in the workout but then watching someone execute a beautiful snatch and wish you could do that? Stop skipping what you aren’t good at and show up and practice. Take the “I should” out of your vocabulary, it’s best friend is “I should have….” That past tense is a mindset that can be self-sabotaging. If you missed an opportunity yesterday, start again today instead of thinking “I should have.” It may be frustrating to try something new and uncomfortable and you may not like it at first, but try it for awhile, let yourself experience it, and then make a decision. Something like rock climbing isn’t going to be for everyone, and you may never like barbell snatches, but you may also find confidence in learning a new skill. You may also find that you actually enjoy it.
The signs are good reminders to live today, be proud today and there’s one coming – it will read “Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” It’s easy to get stuck in the past and dwell on things that happened that cannot be changed. Maybe you have regrets, missed opportunities or lost years, maybe the past isn’t something to be proud of. Maybe there have been or are currently struggles in your life (most likely there’s been at least a few bumps along the road). You can visit the past, remember how far you’ve come and what you can do today. October was a huge month for PRs as we had some test weeks programmed, finished the gymnastics seminar and rope climb session. It’s good to take a peek into the past, see how far you’ve come, be proud of yourself. Set your goals for the future. Then come back into the present – that is where we are living today. Look for the one thing you can do today to eliminate or minimize that roadblock or excuse in your life. Do one small thing towards your goal.