“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
For the longest time, I thought these two words were synonymous- I had the belief that accepting where I was meant that I was being complacent. I was thinking about acceptance as satisfaction, which is not the case. I now think of acceptance as simply recognizing and honoring the way things are in the moment. With this recognition of reality, I find myself in a better position to effect meaningful change.
The other day I had the following piece of work:
100 cal assault bike
100 man makers (25# DB)
100 wall ball
100 cal row
100 OH plate walking lunges
Break seemingly overwhelming tasks into manageable chunks.
I knew this workout would be long, but I have an endurance background (50k trail races), so I’m totally cool with anything in the longer time domain. However, my shoulders are pretty weak so I knew that 100 man makers would be pretty uncomfortable **1 man maker = push up, L arm row, R arm row, squat clean, push press** That’s one rep. I knew this component was the crux of the workout. After knocking out the DU and assault bike, I made 10 lines on my whiteboard and got to work. 1 rep at a time- stopping every 5 to chalk my hands/ breathe/ shake out my arms and then every 10 to erase a line off the whiteboard. I did not get through this set of 100 by wishing I was further along or by being satisfied with doing 50 or 70 reps. I got through the set of 100 by doing each rep—one movement at a time—breaking the seemingly overwhelming task into manageable chunks and counting to 10 over and over and over.
Practice with intent, consistency, and effort.
This principle can apply to any workout, task, etc. I can wish that I am somewhere other than where I am as long as I understand that has ZERO impact on moving me forward. What will move me forward is intentional execution of the task at hand. For me lately, I have been very frustrated with my gymnastics. I don’t have muscle ups, I don’t have strict handstand push-ups, and I don’t have legless rope climbs. So yes, I definitely spend time wishing that I could just hop up onto the rings and bang out a set of unbroken muscle ups. But sitting around wishing that I could do these things does not help me. What does help me is working hard on the things that I CAN do. For muscle ups- spending time in the transition, improving my ability to maintain tension and good body positions with the kip, improving my dip strength, etc. These things will move me in the direction of a muscle up. These tasks require consistency, intent, and effort. All things that I can control. All things I can do.
No one knows how long progress will take.
I think the other thing that makes dedication to progress difficult (for me) is that I really have no idea how long it will take me to obtain these skills. I have no idea, really, if I will ever be able to do a muscle up. For me, this is why falling in love with the process is imperative. Ultimately, the process is really all there is. As soon as I achieve whatever movement I am working so hard on, the goal will be multiples unbroken, or improving my cycle time, or doing it weighted. The process is all there is.
Fall in love with the process.
Practice with consistency.
Allow your effort to speak for itself.
Tiana Tallant, PT, DPT, MA
Tiana is a Physical Therapist and Crossfit athlete who lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. She completed a Master’s degree in Clinical Health Psychology in 2013 and Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2017. She is continually inspired by the resiliency of the human body is stoked on optimizing performance for humans of all ability levels. Her athletic background includes Division I soccer, 50k trail races, and endurance mountain biking.