Happy Monday, and welcome to our revamped weekly newsletter, where I’ll be sharing physical and mental fitness-related content with you on a weekly basis.
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the uncertainty of life. 2020 and the events so far in 2021 may have made our inability to control external circumstances more obvious than ever, but really, life has always been — and always will be — uncertain.
In fact, the only thing we can ever really control is our response.
Point blank: We can’t control the fact that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. We can’t control it when a rude driver cuts us off, or when our boss or significant other says something hurtful, or when our Amazon package doesn’t arrive on time.
We can control our response.
We have the power to react however we choose. We can be upset that our lives were upended by the pandemic. We can react out of anger, to let something or someone ruin our day, to hold a grudge.
Or, we can decide to take a deep breath and be mindful about how we choose to respond. We can use that space to pause and consider what small actions we can take to make the best of a situation.
It’s our choice.
January Accountability Challenge reminder —
In case you missed it, we’re onto week three of the January Accountability Challenge! The goal: get in 20 workouts before the end of the month. We have workout options you can do via a free downloadable calendar, or you can do whatever workout suits you.
Join our super supportive and cool Facebook group to take part, or post anywhere on social media and tag @12minuteathlete.
What I’m reading —
Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement by Rich Karlgaard
I LOVED this book. As someone who has considered myself to be a late bloomer in many areas of my life (including in fitness, my career, and even socially), this book gave me so much hope for the future.
In Late Bloomers, Karlgaard explores how those of us who didn’t make any of the esteemed “30 under 30” lists or peak in our early 20’s are actually better positioned for greater long-term achievement and happiness than many early bloomers. That is, as long as we don’t give up on ourselves.
Says Karlgaard on developing the quiet resolve to persist:
“The idea that there’s a timetable for success compels us to mindlessly concoct an illusion of passion, rather than allowing us to unearth our own true mission and purpose. The persistence needed to bloom and keep blooming is a quiet resolve. It’s a personal persistence, rather than the bluster of narcissistic confidence or the forced march of youthful achievement.”
If consider yourself to be a late bloomer in any area of your life, I highly recommend this book.
What I’m listening to —
The Daily Stoic: January 15, 2021 — You Still Have Time, Pt. II (listen here)
I like to start my mornings listening to the Daily Stoic podcast before turning on the NPR news roundup for the day. I’ve found that, especially during uncertain times (like during a global pandemic…), ancient wisdom helps to ground me and remind me to have perspective.
Following on the theme of Late Bloomers, this episode reminds us that it’s never too late to go after our dreams. That wherever we’re at, we still have time — as long as we don’t give up.
Says Holiday: “There is no time like the present. It is not too late. The gulf-stream of youth is still strong within you—if you choose to let it be. Keep yourself young. Don’t let yourself harden.”
If you prefer reading over listening, you can read the entire episode here.
What I’ve been training this week —
One arm handstands.
I started working on handstands at the end of 2014 with zero previous gymnastics experience. It’s been quite the journey (I wrote a whole blog post about it here). I like to think of handstands in my first real experiment at building grit.
Handstands taught me that if you put in the work on a consistent basis you can make significant progress, no matter where you’re starting from.
It’s only after seven years of consistently working my handstands and then about two years of working toward a one arm handstand that I’ve gotten to the point where I can do these one arm handstand drills fairly consistently.
The lesson: Hard work and consistency pays off. But there are no shortcuts.
Quote I’m inspired by —
“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” – Abraham Maslow
I think I’m going to get this one as a plaque for my wall. It’s something I need to remind myself of constantly.
What I’m eating —
Figgy Pops: I first came across these tasty little snacks through my friend’s healthy plane snack company and have been obsessed ever since. They’re junk-free little energy balls made from healthy ingredients like nuts, dried fruit, and cacao.
I’ve found that they’re the perfect snack to keep my energy up and keep me from bonking during training (they’re also great as a quick pre-workout snack). The tart cherry fig ones are my favorite, with the cranberry pistachio close behind.
New workouts from last week —
Last week’s workouts were from the second week in our latest community challenge.
Missed the first two weeks of the January Accountability Challenge? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to start getting some movement in for 2021.
Check out the challenge page for all the details (including the downloadable challenge calendar for the month).
Remember, you can get these and all future workouts right in the 12 Minute Athlete app when you subscribe as a Super Athlete (this is WAY cheaper than joining a gym or hiring a personal trainer! In addition, you’ll be helping to support the site and making future features to the app possible.).
As always, I value your feedback, so please feel free to reply directly to this email if you have any questions or comments (yes, I am a real human). I get a lot of emails and messages, so I can’t reply to all of them, but I do read everything you guys send me!
Here’s to embracing uncertainty,
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