When I was home visiting family for the holidays, my dad and I went to the gym where I spent much of my teenage years. It’s always a weird experience going back.
When I was growing up, I wasn’t particularly athletic. I played team sports but was never very good. I couldn’t do a single push-up, let alone a pull-up, pistol squat, or anything else requiring strength and coordination.
Worst of all, no one ever told me that even though I wasn’t good at something starting out, I could get better at it. I believed, along with most of my teachers and coaches at the time, that talent was everything. Coupled with this was the general consensus that putting in too much effort was pointless. If you’re not already good at something, the thinking was, why even try?
(This is a classic example of what psychologists now call a fixed mindset.)
It took hitting rock bottom in college mentally and physically for me to start putting effort into my physical fitness and teach myself that hard work and effort do pay off.
Just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to do it. You can get better at anything, no matter what your starting point.
Small, consistent forward action steps are key to all long-term progress.
Wherever you’re at in your journey, keep going.
What I’m reading —
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
Burkeman has fast become one of my favorite writers. His dry sense of British humor makes me laugh out loud, and I love his skeptical take on things like happiness and time management. In The Antidote, he derails common advice to “be positive” and suggests that to be truly happy, we embrace the negative parts of our lives, as well. In short, we have to embrace “anti-positive thinking.”
What I’m watching —
Finding Joe: A Story About Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey
This is a really well done documentary on Joseph Campbell and the pattern he discovered in every story ever told that he called “The Hero’s Journey.” The hero’s journey is a journey of self-discovery, and we can all go through it to become the best version of ourselves.
A quote that inspires me —
“When you follow your bliss, the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” — Joseph Campbell
What I’m training —
Here’s a full-body calisthenics workout I posted on Instagram this week.
Three new workouts —
Heart Raising Jump Rope HIIT Workout (12 minute HIIT, jump rope)
Motivated 12-Minute Medicine Ball Workout (12 minute HIIT, medicine ball)
216 Rep Bar Challenge Workout (Time challenge, pull-up bar, dip bar)
You can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete.
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