(As appeared at Daffneecohen.com)
I was frustrated. I was tired. I wasn’t able to lift the last of my heavy power cleans and I was agitated about it. I had found myself, all week long in fact, feeling off at the Crossfit gym and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. Feeling like I wasn’t getting stronger and like I wasn’t sure if Crossfit was really for me after all.
I have been Crossfitting for about eight months consistently and have conquered so many barriers not only in strength and in endurance but in fear, faith and confidence. Crossfit had (and still is) undeniably making me a better person. So why all the down thoughts I asked myself a few times? I was in a strange place in my fitness journey so naturally, I dug deeper. What did I discover? It was me. It literally was my entire fault that I wasn’t lifting as heavy or doing as well in the workouts. I was spending so much time getting myself down, comparing my skills to other people and worrying about my tomorrow that I wasn’t focused and dedicated to the moment I was in. I think we’ve probably all been there before; it’s only human to get ahead of ourselves. What we find is it is not a physical limitation, but a mental one…
I came to some powerful conclusions about how I operate as a young person in the world. I believe there are steps that we go through, or better yet, have the opportunity to go through, to change our present moment, to change our tomorrow and to truly write our own story as the person in charge of our own life.
I was going to use the word “rewrite” in this blog but after some thought I removed it as I just don’t think it quite fits. This isn’t about rewriting our story really. What it’s truly about is understanding where we are, where we want to be and the steps we have to take to get there. If we can do that, we can start, at this very moment, writing our own story in a way that allows us to choose our happy ending.
We are in control of our success and our ability to be the people we want to be. What is more powerful than that, is acknowledging that we have what it takes to start right this moment and make our next move even more powerful than the last. To make our relationships even deeper than ever and importantly, to utilize what we know about ourselves to be better people.
Arguably, most of us wait until there is a real problem or real source of negative energy before we start to make change. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, especially if the situation isn’t serious but it most definitely is the first and most important piece in realizing that change needs to happen. It wasn’t until I realized a change had occurred in my workout attitude, going from excitement to dread, that I knew something had to change mentally for me. So what was it?
I decided to truly be the author of my own story. I stopped comparing myself to the other people around me and I decided to actually TELL myself my story for the day. I told myself stories about my workouts, my career, my relationship and just about anything else you can think of.
Here is an example…
Old thinking: I hope I can lift that weight today. Two laps of running is so much harder than one, I hope I can finish. I ate a lot of food this weekend and now I’m going to feel it. I know other people here can do this so much better than I can, I wonder if I look silly to them.
New thinking: I know I can lift this weight today. I’ve done this workout before and it only made me stronger. Even if I’m tired and hurting, I’m going to give this everything I have. It’s only by doing the things I’m weak in that I eliminate my weaknesses. I know there are people around me who are better at this than I am. I’m ok with that and I’m proud of the hard work they’ve put in to get here. I will keep working hard and eventually be where they are and further. I am only in control of how hard I work and how dedicated I am (in all aspects of life really).
- I acknowledged the things I had already accomplished since I started my Crossfit journey. I couldn’t do a multitude of workouts and lifts, almost all of which I can do now. I thought about the toughest workouts I’d done so far and how exhausted and proud I was when I was done. I recalled feeling stronger, fitter and faster after each workout and applauded myself for how far I’d come.
- I decided to trust myself and the things I knew I was capable of doing. I didn’t let fear bring me down when I knew I had conquered so much before and could do it again. I wasn’t worried about failure, but excited to see how far I could push myself this time around.
- I turned the things I dreaded most into the things I looked forward to most. I looked at the movements that I struggled with most as an opportunity to become stronger physically and mentally. I stopped dreading all together and I counted my blessings-I am healthy and able to work out at this level and that’s nothing to take for granted. When we view life as a gift rather than as a chore, a lot can change.
- I kept my new story in mind always. I always reinforced myself with positive thinking, excited thoughts and new ideas. Negativity is contagious and if I start with one negative thought, they will follow in crowds. I am better than that and I am in charge of my tomorrow.
I am not stranger to failure, fear and uncertainty. I consider myself a strong individual but strength only comes with the banishment of fear and weakness. For every bit I am strong today, I was all of those bits weaker in the past. Writing your own story is FAR easier said than done. It takes all of the strength we have as people to eliminate negative thoughts, build ourselves up and be proud of the work we do, no matter how small it may seem. All work matters. Hard work matters. Here’s to being the author of your own story. May you always have the best ending!