The joy of lifelong learning, the science of change, and kettlebell swings

Happy Monday,

When I left high school at 17, I stubbornly declared that I never wanted to learn anything new ever again.

Years later, my mom likes to tease me about this whenever I tell her all the new things I’ve been learning recently.

These days, my love of learning is my top strength, my number one superpower in life.

It’s clear to me now that, even as a teenager, it’s not that I didn’t want to learn;  I just didn’t want to be told what to learn. I wanted to care about what I was learning, to feel like it had some application in my life and the future I wanted to create.

Lifelong learning is one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings. Learning does not need to stop when we reach adulthood; we can learn and grow and get better at any age.

I’ve met 70-year-olds that have more energy and spark than my 30-year-old friends simply because they’ve never stopped learning, growing, and playing.

Continuing to learn throughout our lives seems to be one of the main ways to keep our bodies and minds young as we get older.

The most well-rounded people learn a little about a lot of things, then focus on a few areas they’re especially passionate about. This is why, in my personal journey, I’m always learning different things — some to help me improve as an athlete, others to better my mind, and others to help me grow and mature as a human being.

The key is to continue to follow your curiosities and never to let that nagging thought of “what if it’s too late?” get in the way of you learning something new.

As the late George Leonard said,

“To learn is to change. Our destiny is to learn and keep learning for as long as we live.”

What I’m reading —

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard

This is one of my favorite books of all time and probably the third time I’ve read it. In it, George unpacks the concept of mastery, which he says “is not really a goal, or a destination, rather a process, a journey.” You can work toward mastery in anything, from athletics, to your career, to your hobbies, and even to your relationships.

It’s never too late to get started on a path to mastery. As Leonard puts it, “mastery is available to anyone who is willing to get on the path and stay on it, regardless of age, sex, or previous experience.”

It’s a pretty quick read, but packed with wisdom and actionable advice. It’s one of the books I recommend most to people.

What I’m listening to —

Dr. Katy Milkman on the Science of How People Change / Finding Mastery podcast

Behavioral scientist Dr. Katy Milkman talks with sports psychologist Michael Gervais all about the science of change on this week’s Finding Mastery podcast.

Milkman’s research shows that timing is a big part of change, and that there are moments in our lives that feel more conducive to change than others. These are moments when we feel like we’re opening a new chapter in our lives. They can be anything from starting a new job, to moving to a new city, to even just the start of a new week. Fresh starts cause us to step back and look at the bigger picture of our lives and give us increased optimism that we can become our best selves.

Lots of gems in this one. You can bet that her new book, How to Change, is next on my list.

A quote that inspires me —

“To get good, it’s helpful to be willing — or even enthusiastic — about being bad. Baby steps are the royal road to skill.” – Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code

What I’m training this week —

Kettlebell swings.

I’m a big fan of kettlebells and try and add them to my workouts once or twice a week. Kettlebell swings are a very efficient exercise that work your hips, core, and get your heart rate up at the same time. The key to kettlebell swings is to thrust your hips, squeeze your butt, and not let your arms get involved in the movement.

I usually do kettlebell swings as part of a circuit and use anywhere from a 40 to 50 pound bell. Beginners should start lighter and work up to heavier weights.

And yes, it’s a kettle “bell,” not a kettle “ball” 😉

Three new workouts from last week —

Triceps + Cardio HIIT Workout (12 minute, plyo box)

Jump Rope Boxing AMRAP Workout (AMRAP, jump rope)

510 Rep Bodyweight Challenge Workout (Time challenge, equipment-free)

And here’s a medicine ball workout 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


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