I just saw a great post by Miranda Alcaraz (an O.G. CrossFitter) about how we latch on to certain beliefs to strengthen our excuses.
“I am not a morning person. I’ve never been that type to get up at 5:00am. I have to sleep! If I don’t get at least 8 or 9 hours, I am grouchy! The earliest I’ve ever been able to wake up is, like, 8 o’clock. Plus, I work from home, so I don’t really have to be on my computer until 9:00am. But, no, I will never workout in the morning because I just can’t.”
“Well, I’ve just never really been athletic, so I don’t think CrossFit would be for me. I’m not that strong or competitive, either. I’ve never really done anything like that. I don’t think I could learn a pull up or that stuff with the barbell. No, I’m not that strong. I think running is more my speed.”
“Water is so boring to drink, though. I hate drinking just water. I’ve never been well-hydrated. I just can’t.”
“I never grew up eating vegetables, so it’s just not a thing for me. I eat plenty of meats and other things, though, and it’s never really seemed to impact me in a bad way. I never needed veggies before, so why would I need them now? They’ve never been a part of a life, so, no, I’m good.”
“I hate burpees. I have always been so slow at them. They kill me in the workouts. I’ll never be able to do them fast. They slow me down so much. Ugh! I hate burpees!”
Any of these sound familiar?!
Any of them sound like you?!
We all do it, folks, and it’s okay, but let’s start challenging our beliefs. All those beliefs are just coping and self-defense mechanisms to keep us “comfortable.” But, the problem with comfort is that too much of it for too long can lead to complacency and stagnation. It could be why you haven’t gotten a muscle up for the last three years, or maybe why you keep fluctuating in your weight, or even why you’re always tired.
I’ll admit my own beliefs – Y’all know that wall balls used to be one of my worst ones in CrossFit. I used to always say things like, “I hate wall balls. I’m just too short for them. I have to work harder than everyone else. I’ll never be good at them. I just can’t do wall balls well.” I FINALLY challenged that belief this past October during our Barbells For Boobs event, and lo and behold, I have actually accomplished a 7:59 time for “Karen” and I now look forward to them in the workouts. I never thought I’d live to see the day!
And please understand – That switch didn’t happen in a day, a week, or a month, or even two months. That switch took me three months, and the first month was the hardest one! I fought myself a lot. Some days, I had to do my wall balls in an EMOM-style of just 5 reps at a time. Mentally, it was all I could get myself through. Other days, I did 10 x 10. And then, suddenly, there was a day we had wall balls in the workout, and I ended up surprising myself by doing the first 50 UNBROKEN!! Holy cow! It was a huge breakthrough after 10 years of all that bullsh** I kept telling myself! But, that took a lot of work to get to that point, a lot of discomfort, and even a lot of frustration and anger.
Holding on to a belief for so long, it becomes your identity. And then, when you try to challenge that, your subconscious wants to fight you, tooth and nail. And, it gets even worse when you realize your beliefs were all lies, and you’re actually way better than you once believed. When I started to realize that wall balls can actually be in my wheelhouse, and it has nothing to do with my height or abilities, I got angry. Mostly at myself, but even at my coaches and teammates. I was angry at everyone for a few weeks. But, that’s also a normal part of the process.
THIS is the pivotal point, THIS is when you know you’re reached a critical part of your journey, when you’re angry, tired, and unsure, and want to go back to the old ways – When you reach this point, if you’re willing to walk through the fire, you’ll make it to the other side of growth and change. Not everyone is willing or ready to do that, though. Sometimes, we can also see this stage as sign that it’s not working, but I can promise you, it IS working! Stay the course!
Not always, but often, it has to get worse before it can get better. In this case, it got worse mentally and emotionally for me. There were definitely days I thought I would just fake a knee injury and quit on the wall balls challenge. Like, I legit planned out an entire scenario to play out. But, I kept challenging my belief system. I kept challenging my fears. I kept questioning my reactions.
I kept playing devil’s advocate. Until finally… FINALLY, the beliefs started to change, and then it was like a walk in the park! Now, wall balls have a different reaction inside of me. When I see wall balls in the workout, I get genuinely excited the same way I do for power cleans and burpees! 🙂
Now that I’ve kicked that belief to the curb, my next belief is that I can’t Snatch too heavy because I’m afraid of dropping the barbell on my back. I tell myself that I don’t need to lift heavy to be strong. I say that I don’t want to hurt myself because I have three little girls depending on me. While my beliefs have some merit, admittedly, I am using them to avoid maxing out on the Snatch. So, this year, I am challenging that belief, and I’ve entered myself into my first Oly meet on Feb 1st since, gosh, probably three years ago!
So, my friends, as we settle into 2020, I invite you to challenge your beliefs that are strengthening your excuses. Start with just one. And, maybe you’ll find your belief is wrong. Or, maybe you are in fact right, but at least now you know for sure.
Challenge your beliefs. Get uncomfortable. At the other side of comfort is GROWTH.