I’ve blogged before about how important it is to track progress, to measure how far you’ve come, and how you compare against yourself (as oppsed to how you compare to other people). So this week has been a bit of a tough one, for all sorts of reasons and I’ve had to really think about that and take advice from people wiser than me.
On Monday, it would have been my dad’s birthday. I’m pretty used to spending the day feeling sad (as an FYI, people who say time heals are lying, they just don’t want you to know that you’re facing a lifetime of feeling sad and full of rage), but I wasn’t expecting to feel as knocked for six as I did. So, a few days of taking deep breaths and trying not to embarass myself in public.
The other thing I’ve been tussling with is the idea that progress isn’t linear, that you don’t just learn to do something, keep doing it and keep getting better. Well, actually maybe you do in other areas. But I’ve been doing crossfit, and my experience is very different. When I started in ‘normal’ classes, I was the slowest, weakest, fattest and probably the oldest. I am probably still those things, but I could see progress. My weights were getting bigger, I like to think my form was improving, I was beginning to finish the WODs, but having begun to feel a bit pleased about myself, I got a sharp lesson in humility this week.
Progress seems to have slowed down and I am beginning to get frustrated at always having to scale down my skills – other people do pull ups, ring dips, but not me. Now I know I am a beginning, that everyone else has been through the same process, that I am building strength, but it doesn’t feel like any progress is being made. Or if it is, it’s painfully slowly. Where I’ve been going wrong is to compare myself to other people, which (as we all know) is an error. And so rather than be cross, and jack it in ‘because I can’t do it’, I’ve decided to listen to some advice I’ve been given, rather than roll my eyes and think I know better. So here it is:
1) It’s not just about the destination – fitness and strength are journeys, you need to enjoy it and not focus on some arbitrary end point
2) Stop being so self-critical – if you wouldn’t tolerate someone else saying something about you, why would you say it about yourself
3) Rather than saying ‘I can’t do it’ and giving up, properly practice, properly try, get some good coaching from someone who knows how it is to learn something from the first time
So while I feel a bit despondent, I’m choosing not to let that be my overriding emotion. I’m making a list of my fitness/strength goals. I’m training as hard as I can. I’m tracking my training so I can see when I’m getting better. I’m working on things I can work on. I’m comparing myself against myself, not other people, but being inspired by what they can do. The interesting thing is that I am choosing to have a positive approach to this – it’s not my default setting, which would be to throw in the towel. This is also something I’ve learnt lately.
So there we are – big thank you Crossfit London for the sage words of advice, all I have to do is act on it!