Since the beginning of last year, I became obsessed with getting my first muscle-up. However, for so long I lacked understanding or purpose of how to really get there. The frustration was boiling over, but it was totally self-inflicted, because there were certain key factors hindering me from truly understanding the process of how to achieve my goal. To name a few barriers – I feared failure, I had a lack of commitment, and I was failing to plan.
This changed. In November last year, I went up to my coach, and said “Hoody, it’s time I got this muscle up, you’re going to help me and I’m going to listen”, in which he simply replied “cool, work the basics, build strict strength, develop shoulder stability, practice the exercises I tell you to three times a week”. It was pretty simple, self-explanatory advice. I then replied “ok cool, so when do you think I’ll get my first one?” to which Hoody calmly said “be patient dude, I want to get you there as fast as you want to get there, but you’ll get there, just enjoy it”. This last bit is important.
Weeks went by, I listened, and I practised. For once, I wasn’t looking ahead to the outcome at all, which was the full muscle up. I was working the basics, hitting the reps, and focusing more on the now, and the experience. Yes, it was boring at times, and repetitive, but it was a process which I built faith and trust in.
2 weeks ago, one of the boys at the gym told me to give the full exercise a go. I jumped up on the rings and unexpectedly just knocked out one. A few days later, that one turned to two, and then three. It was unexpected to the max, and bloody satisfying. It felt even better knowing the process I had trusted in, got me there.
The purpose of this is simply this:
Trust the process.
Why am I saying this?
So many people, including myself, desire ‘outcomes’: getting a first muscle up, wanting to be leaner or fitter, wanting to lead a healthier life, wanting to be more successful – whatever goals we aspire to achieve and set ourselves. But we don’t necessarily devise a tangible way of getting there. Today’s society is rushed. There is a need and an expectation for drastic change, and far too much focus is placed on the outcome rather than the process. This is bad.
We see this a lot at the start of each year. January is a fascinating month – people are full of energy, ready to tackle a new year on with a plethora of goals they have set themselves. Most of these goals however tend to be vague and unstructured. They are focused too much on the outcome, rather than the process.
We as humans, desire outcomes. This is fine. But what is the purpose of this outcome? And are we taking the full responsibility that we should be taking in order to get there? My feeling is no, and bearing in mind that only 8% of resolutions are kept, there might be some validity in this opinion. (For the record – I hate the word resolution, but it serves a purpose for clarity right now).
It’s time we started to trust the process.
Life a process. My personal example is a very generic and simple one, but it illustrates the point, that sometimes, rather than wasting our energy on the future or worrying about outcomes of certain things, we need to live in the now.
I noticed real change in the way I approached my life when I started focusing on the process itself. Yes, the end goal was always there, but the process was the focal point on a daily basis.
We all have different ways of going about our business, but for me, these are some of the factors that allow me to build my own process and enjoy my journeys:
- Address the purpose – there needs to be purpose in any goal we set. If there is no purpose, there is no validity in that goal. When I set a goal, I now ask myself why I am setting it. If I can’t answer the question, does the goal need to be there?
- Write things down – pen to paper is crucial. I find it helps me cement thought into a sense of reality, and forms the basis of structure. Devise a plan, and check in with it accordingly.
- Going with the flow – The journey will change constantly. Whilst planning creates structure, don’t become obsessive over it. Some things will be in your control, some things may not be. The ability to adapt is important. I used to hate it when I couldn’t be in control of things. It did me more harm than good.
- Find a mentor – Without my coach, I’d still be staring at those rings like a twat. Whatever your goals are, find someone to help you, and decide how big or little a part they will have to play. Having guidance is not only incredibly motivating and encouraging, but experiences are always enjoyed best with others.
- Enjoy the fuck ups – I’ve learned to embrace failure, and it’s helped. When people set goals, there is pressure to get to these goals. When we make mistakes, it’s like you’ve committed a cardinal sin. Wrong. Mistakes are important for growth. Make mistakes, often.
- Trim the fat – There are a multitude of things that hinders us from getting from A to B. I find a big element of this is peer pressure and social circles. For example, if your goal is to become healthier, you may choose to eliminate alcohol consumption for a while, or change some habits of your lifestyle. Some people may criticise your life decisions. These people need to go. Surround yourself with the right people, who will encourage you to fulfil your goals. It will make the process much more enjoyable.
- Have faith – there needs to be trust from within towards what you are doing. Bottom line – back yourself, and your decisions. That sense of self-belief is extremely rewarding if you can then apply it in the right way.
- Wear Nike – seriously.
By definition, a process could be described as a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. And note the word steps. We aren’t talking big, drastic leaps. Life is a process. Be patient.
It’s good to set goals. I love goals, I love having no limits and thinking way beyond my reach. It keeps life interesting and challenging. But the clock never stops ticking and I for one have lost time on the present by sometimes focusing far too much on the future.
Build your process. Trust your process. Keep life simple.