Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t able to do something? Do you think it’s because you’re not strong enough? Or, skilled enough? Or, disciplined enough? The list goes on and we all create reasons why we aren’t able to do something — squat 250 pounds, do a pull up, meditate for 20 minutes every day, kick the coffee…the list goes on.
But, what if we changed our way of thinking.
What if we truly figure out why we aren’t able to do “X” and put a plan in place that goes from beginning to action to goal?
Things aren’t happening because we’re not starting at the right place…the beginning.
Kate and the Pull Up
My client Kate wants to do a pull up. She believed that she wasn’t strong enough in her shoulders to complete the reps. But, what about Kate’s hands? To pull yourself up from a dead hang, you have to be able to dead hang. When we tested her grip strength she was able to hold herself on the bar for 20 seconds. So, we’re starting there. Kate will work her way up to being able to dead hang for 2 minutes before we start working on her pulling strength. And, even then, we’ll work more on her slow eccentric lowering from the top of a pull up before she goes for the full movement.
There’s a progression for everything. Take a moment to look at what you’re trying to do before you do it and really figure out where the beginning is. Things can get a little tricky here because most of us want to analyze a situation to death and that’s not what I’m saying. I don’t want you to have paralysis by analysis, just figure out your starting point and go do that.
Treating the symptom
Not starting where you are is similar to treating the symptom of a health issue. We take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat a headache when the only thing the pills do is to mask the headache. The headache is still there, you’re just numb to it. What would it be like if you treated WHY you have the headache to make the pain go away?
Starting in the middle is similar. You miss building the foundation and without that there’s nothing to build upon.
I’ve seen this in my life when it comes to my shoulder. Several doctors told me to stop lifting, and when I did, my shoulder pain went away. But, that didn’t solve the problem, it just made it go away, only to come back again when I tried to lift again. It wasn’t until a physical therapist showed me how to solve the problem and why I was having pain that I was able to lift pain free again.
Had I never gone back to the beginning and taken small steps to strengthen my shoulder and then bigger steps to progress previously painful moves I wouldn’t be where I am today – able to lift heavy weights.
It wasn’t until I failed a couple of times at healing my shoulder before I realized that I needed to change my approach. “Go back to basics” is exactly the saying we need to be listening to. But, how do we know what the basics are?
Find the easiest and most approachable part of what you’re working towards. In the case of the pull up it’s hanging from the bar; in the case of my shoulder injury it’s turning to a professional and having her telling me it’s a stability problem. Sometimes we need to go outside of ourselves for help and other times we can figure it out on our own. The point is – we need to find the first step and that might be to determine whether you are able to help yourself.
Once you have that first step, do it. Master it and move on.
I can’t stress how important it is to start at the beginning, your beginning. There’s no success in skipping steps, so figure out where you need to be, for you, and start there.