On comparing yourself to others, creating psychological flexibility, and a beach-friendly workout

Happy Monday,

When I first started boxing, I constantly compared myself to others who were more skilled than I was.

I’d envy their head movement, their footwork, their combinations, and I’d endlessly beat myself up for not being as good as them.

I never took into account that most of the people I was judging myself against had been training for years, if not a decade or more.

It simply made no sense for me to compare myself to them.

Yet, I know I’m not alone in comparing my own journey to others’.

How often do you scroll Instagram and wonder why you can’t be as strong, skilled, or athletically gifted as your favorite sports hero? Or as business savvy as your favorite entrepreneur?

This is an unfortunate habit most of us have ingrained in us from a young age.

While it can be helpful to see examples and get inspired by others who have accomplished awe-worthy things, comparing our journeys to theirs makes no sense.

You are on your journey, and other people are on theirs. Most of the time, you have no idea what they’ve gone through to get where they are today.

Stay on your path, and learn to trust the process. Your learning and growth will happen with time.

What I’m reading —

Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom For Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was an actor, artist, philosopher, and inspiration to the world. This book encompasses much of his philosophy on many different subjects, from being human, to matters of existence, to personal liberation, and the process of becoming. It’s one of those books to savor slowly over time, and reads more as a collection of thoughts rather than a structured book.

Some of my favorite thoughts:

“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” 

“Goals give life substance. To strive actively to achieve some goal gives your life meaning and substance.” 

“Learning is discovering, uncovering what is there in us. When we discover, we are uncovering our own ability, our own eyes, in order to find our potential, to see what is going on, to discover how we can enlarge our lives, to find means at our disposal that will let us cope with a difficult situation.” 

What I’m listening to —

A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters by Steven Hayes

Steven Hayes is a psychologist known for developing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), by far my favorite form of psychotherapy. ACT is a psychological intervention that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies to increase psychological flexibility, create behavior change, and so much more.

This book goes into depth on how ACT can help us live full and meaningful lives by embracing our vulnerability and turning toward what hurts. It’s an absolute gem, and I expect to return to this book many times in the future. Be warned: this book is by no means an easy read and requires you to really put in the work to get the most out of the book. But it’s well worth it if you do.

“Psychological flexibility is the ability to feel and think with openness, to attend voluntarily to your experience of the present moment, and to move your life in directions that are important to you, building habits that allow you to live life in accordance with your values and aspirations. It’s about learning not to turn away from what is painful, instead turning toward your suffering in order to live a life full of meaning and purpose.” 

A quote that inspires me —

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” — William James

What I’m training this week —

Hook kicks.

If you’ve been following my martial arts journey at all,  you’ve seen me working round kicks and side kicks, both of which have improved but still have some ways to go. Hook kicks are next on the list. This is a kick that strikes the target (usually the head) in a hooking motion. Here is an example of a hook kick if you’re interested.

Three new workouts from last week —

Shadow Boxing Conditioning HIIT Workout (12 minute, equipment-free)

Athlete Conditioning Challenge Workout (Time challenge, medicine ball, jump rope)

100 Burpee Challenge (Time challenge, equipment-free)

And here’s an equipment-free workout perfect for the beach or your favorite park that I posted on Instagram.

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!

– Krista Stryker

PS. I recently released a FREE eBook on the 5 keys to building mental and physical fitness. If you haven’t already, you can download it here.



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