On learning to take it day by day, pursuing excellence, and the joy of being wrong

Hey there,

Setting big goals can be overwhelming.

If you’re anything like me, you constantly remind yourself of how far you have to go and how little time you have ahead of you to accomplish all the life goals you want to achieve.

Not surprisingly, going down an anxiety spiral doesn’t actually help us get closer to our goals. Instead, it can cause us to freeze out of indecision — or to give up prematurely.

A better approach is to create high, hard goals, and then stop obsessing about the outcome.

Zoom in and focus on what’s in front of you—what you can do today to get closer to your goals.

For example…

If you want to get more flexible, even five to ten minutes of daily focused stretching can help you go from not being able to touch your toes to being able to do the splits (I’m living proof).

If you want to write a book, one hour of distraction-free writing five days a week adds up. Before you know it, you’ll have written an entire book.

If you want to learn something new, such as handstands, French, or how to play the guitar, chunk your larger goal down into steps, then set aside consistent, focused time to practice.

You’ll be surprised how much progress you can make toward an impossible-seeming goal if you chip away at it little by little over weeks, months, and years.

As legendary Seattle Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll says:

“To accomplish the grand, you have to focus on the small.”

Zoom in on what you can do on this day, in this moment.

What I’m reading —

The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler

I’ve been a fan of author and flow researcher Steven Kotler for a long time. I admire his work ethic and his deep desire to learn and make a positive difference in the world.

His newest book focuses on how to create the best version of ourselves, using science (particularly flow science) as a guide. To help us stretch far beyond our capabilities and reach our full potential.

As Kotler writes in The Art of Impossible:

“The only thing more difficult than the emotional toil of pursuing true excellence is the emotional toil of not pursuing true excellence.”

What I’m listening to —

The Joy of Being Wrong – Adam Grant on the Ten Percent Happier Podcast (listen here)

Author and organizational psychologist Adam Grant reminds us why it’s so important to maintain an open mind, to be able to rethink and unlearn what we think we know, and admit that we’re wrong in order to grow in this interview with Dan Harris.

Lots of good points in this one, including the benefits of imposter syndrome (it keeps us humble and better able to relate to others), as well as the sign of a true expert: someone who marvels at how little they understand and how much more they want to learn.

Grant’s new book, Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know is on the top of my to-read list, so be prepared to hear more about it next week 😉

A quote that inspires me —

“Don’t fear failure… in great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” – Bruce Lee

What I’m training this week —

Handstand basics.

Working toward long-term mastery in any one area means you end up training the same things week after week, month after month. While variety may feel exciting, in practice, it isn’t always useful.

I diligently train my handstand basics (like these side bends) three to four days a week in order to keep a solid foundation in hopes that one day a solid one arm handstand will become a reality.

That skills like these are now my warm-up still boggles my mind.

Three new workouts from last week —

Heart Pounding Medicine Ball AMRAP Workout (12-minute AMRAP, medicine ball)

Bar + Bodyweight HIIT Workout (12-minute HIIT workout, pull up bar)

288 Rep Kettlebell Challenge Workout (Time challenge, pull up bar)

And here’s an equipment-free workout I posted on Instagram requiring nothing but your own body and a wall.

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 taking it day by day,

Krista Stryker


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