Yesterday we posted a video on Facebook recounting the story of Kyle Maynard scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro without the luxury of being born with hands and feet. The most powerful part for me is when Kyle began to describe the mental struggle with what seemed like an insurmountable task. Paraphrasing he said “I had to remind myself to not look up and think about how far there is to go. Instead look back and see how far we’ve come. One step at a time.”
I want to explore this attitude in the context of all of our fitness journeys. There are many things we see people do in the gym that may seem unattainable.
“I want to get a pull-up.”
“My goal is to be able to do a muscle-up.”
There is no question getting your first pull-up and your first muscle-up are incredibly rewarding moments. They also can be an intimidating or seemingly
But sometimes by putting so much emphasis on such tangible milestones, we forget to look back and appreciate the smaller personal bests—and the equally as important milestones—along the way. Sometimes we even get ahead of ourselves trying to skip steps, and move further along in the process than we’ve earned.
The attitude of “One step at a time” is the surest path to obtain goals. For example think about your pulling strength (your eventual road to a pull-up and muscle-up) as being on a 100-step staircase. In this way, pull-ups and a muscle-up are simply just two other steps on the staircase, no less, or no more important, than the step before or the step after.
Using this analogy, let’s say a ring row with a perfectly horizontal body is step 25 on the staircase, while a pull-up is step 50, and a muscle-up is step 75.
he pulling strength you gain going from step 49 to step 50 is equivalent to the strength gained moving from step 50 to 51 (where step 51 might mean you can do 2 consecutive pull-ups), yet we’re more likely to celebrate reaching step 50 than 51. But why? Why is getting a pull-up somehow more important than being able to do two consecutive pull-ups?
It comes down to ego and our perception of what is important.
But if you change the way you think and your attitude about what you should or shouldn’t be able to do you’ll have way more to celebrate along the way. You can also look back and appreciate how far you’ve come, instead of fretting over the fact that you’re not quite to that 50th step yet. You also won’t get as frustrated and impatient waiting to reach step 50 because you’ll also get enjoyment reaching step 46, 47, 48, and 49, too.
Here’s a challenge:
Set 5 small goals along the way to your ultimate goal, and remember to pat yourself on the back when you reach them.
Because the journey is always more fun than the destination!