Weekly musings, 10/1/17: Why
Yesterday, while attending a workshop on locomotion and groundwork, I listened as the teacher explained his thoughts on flexibility. He basically said if your goal is to get into the splits, then there are specific things you need to work on flexibility-wise to get the splits. It’s going to take time, work, and consistency. It can be helpful to ask yourself why you want to attain this specific goal. If it’s to be able to do something cool on instagram, you are less likely to spend the time and work; if it’s a stepping stone to another skill, you are more likely to put in the work. When you think about the squat, the ability to squat allows you to interact with the floor in a more meaningful way. This makes the work it takes to attain the squat worthwhile because the purpose behind the skill enhances the quality of a person’s life.
Whenever I find myself wanting to do something, I ask myself, “why? Why do I want to do this thing?” If the answer is, “because I want to see if I can,” this is a perfectly suitable answer and the curiosity behind what I am capable of is enough to keep me engaged. If the answer is, “because I feel like I should be able to do this because I am a trainer/yoga teacher/female/someone else told me I should be able to” I have learned I am less likely to put in the work. The goal is external, it’s not coming from a place within me that will keep me motivated, day after day, waiting for the improvements to occur.
The clients I find most inspirational are the ones that come back from injury or surgery stronger because, on a very deep level, they have a desire to be strong and capable. They don’t want their lives impacted negatively by whatever physical limitation they had for a moment. They put in the work; it becomes their driving force to be stronger tomorrow than they were yesterday.
When fitness goals cease being about weight loss or looking a certain way, they become more enjoyable and sustainable. It enables us to adjust goals as our lives happen, and the work we put in has a more immediate return on investment. It takes time to get stronger, fitter, faster. Is it worth your time? Take a moment to think about why you are doing something and notice how the answer feels. Sometimes, that’s a more powerful compass than “because I should.”