I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. Like, a really long time. February, to be exact.
Even before that, my posts had become infrequent compared to when I first started. The reasons were actually positive. I had plenty of time to blog when I first started my business, because I didn’t have any clients.
Within a few months that changed. I picked up my first client, then another, then another… Gradually I found myself with a small but consistent little business. Life got busy. I was seeing clients three days a week, and I still had my full-time job at Trader Joe’s to pay the bills and maintain health insurance. Suddenly my time was at a premium. A quality problem indeed!
I also found that sometimes I would put out a blog post and it didn’t get many views, so I increasingly focused my marketing efforts on social media. Facebook and Instagram provided a greater “bang for the buck” with a much lower time investment. A blog post required hours to complete; a well-received social media post took minutes.
But I missed the blog. There is something about long-form writing that soothes my soul, whether it finds a large audience or not. It’s cathartic.
Which finally brings me to why I’m breaking my almost six-month silence on the blog. Because I have suddenly found myself with unforeseen time on my hands, and the need for a little soul-soothing.
When it comes to diet and exercise, we often expect our progress to look like this:
Stay dedicated, try hard, and every workout will be a crescendo of ever-increasing gains, right?
We are having a really good day, and do something awesome at the gym. Maybe a new lifting PR, maybe hitting a certain amount of volume or speed on an exercise. And then, we “expect” to be able to hit or exceed that same level at each subsequent outing.
To recap where we left off last week in our stroll down memory lane… As a child, I had already fallen into a vicious cycle that only worsened as I grew older:
I had natural biomechanical mobility issues exacerbated by weight gain (and probably severe inflammation from a high sugar diet). Physical activity was uncomfortable and associated with ever-elusive weight loss. Trying to do something I wasn’t good at made me feel even worse about myself. So I avoided most physical activity, which further contributed to weak muscles, stiff joints, and continued weight gain. I ate to comfort myself but felt intense shame for doing so (and was often shamed by the adults in my life when caught with the foods I loved), leading to secretive binge eating.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how I wound up a morbidly obese, yo-yo dieting, exercise-hating adult so stiff and inflamed that I could not do one proper squat when I walked through the doors of Ludus Magnus.
I promise, I do have a point in sharing all this beyond self-obsessed navel gazing. I don’t think my experience is that unique; sadly, I think it is all-too common.
I felt like a prisoner to these early established patterns for decades. I couldn’t simply wish them away or extract myself from them overnight. It has been a long, slow process of action: changing one thing at a time, making it a habit and enjoying some success with it, and then changing the next thing.
Well, sort of. Turns out, it’s slightly more complicated than that.
There’s something called the Law of Specificity. When I first heard that term, I had no idea what it meant. It sounds fancy, but it’s quite simple.
If I want to be a better basketball player, I have to practice shooting, dribbling, and quick footwork. If I want to swim like Michael Phelps, I have to spend hours upon hours in the pool. If I want to get stronger, I have to lift weights. Practice makes perfect on the specific thing I want to do better.
“Well, duh,” you may be thinking. “Why do we even need a ‘Law’ for something so obvious?”
I’ve been thinking about goals quite a bit lately.
Our society loves to talk about goals: setting goals, working towards goals, reaching goals. Short-term versus long-term goals. Define benchmark goals on the way to the larger goal. Plan the steps necessary to help reach the goal. Organize your life in a way that gets you closer to the goal. Once you reach the goal, set up the next goal.
(Did you notice how strange the word “goal” starts to sound when you say it that many times in that short a space? Or is it just me? Anyway…)
Weight loss and “getting in shape” are huge goals for millions of people, with a multi-billion dollar industry devoted to helping people reach that goal in a myriad of ways, from the reasonable to the ridiculous.Continue reading “Horizons of Possibility”→