Small Steps Make You Better

This is an article written by Katie for the June issue of Hyannis Life magazine- enjoy!

Each day as athletes leave the varsity weight room at Holy Cross after their rigorous training sessions they tap a sign above the door that states “I Just Got Better.”  It doesn’t matter if they’re exhausted from practice, lift, sprints, and whatever other crazy training session their strength coach had put them through that day- they lift their tired arms and hit that sign.  We learned early on in our athletic careers at HC that hitting the sign was important- and it was a constant reminder to us that working hard day in and day out did in fact make us better.  We had to put in a consistent effort, and it wasn’t easy- but we were a little bit better every time we left that weight room.

This lesson has stayed with me as I’ve moved on in to the workplace, first as a teacher and coach, then into a gym owner myself.  We live in a society where often times we want everything all at once- but life doesn’t work like that.  We need to put in the work each day, doing the little things over and over again- the right way- before we notice any real progress.  And yet despite the fact that sometimes it seems as if we’re not moving forward… we in fact get better every day if we press on putting in the work, consistently attacking challenges and overcoming life’s little obstacles.

As we voyage into the summer months it seems like everyone has a laundry list of things that they want to accomplish, and many people have had the sudden realization that the six pack and perfect beach body they had hoped to have in time for the summer isn’t quite “ready” yet.  So they hit the gym and commit to dialing in their diet.  It goes well for a few days, hey maybe even a few weeks!  But then… “Wait a second, I’ve been doing this for 2 whole weeks and I don’t have a six pack yet- what’s the deal?  I haven’t gotten any better.”  And so they stop going to the gym, convinced their efforts aren’t working.  It’s times like these that we have to go back to that lesson learned in the weight room- you did just get better.  A little better everyday, but things take time.  We want things now, but success and mastery come from the consistent effort- not for a day or a week or a month, but everyday over time.

If you feel like you get stuck in a rut, try to recruit a friend or a knowledgeable coach/trainer to get you back on track and help motivate you.  If you aren’t seeing the results you want, despite a consistent effort over time, don’t be afraid to switch it up.  Perhaps you have a friend who you know trains hard and smart- ask them what they do and see if you can join them for a workout.  Finding a training community that will push and encourage you, even during those periods where you struggle to get motivated, can be the difference between giving up on your efforts and breaking through a plateau stronger than ever.

And as you work for that “perfect beach body”, I urge you to remember the real reasons to work out and train hard: to live a better, healthier, and more energized life!  Enjoy the process.  Worry less about the number on the scale, and think more about how you feel.  Do your workouts leave you feeling strong and empowered?  Do you take pride in your efforts- knowing that you pushed on for that one more rep, that one extra mile, that one last set?  Does being fitter and healthier allow you to be a better parent and role model to your children?  Does it allow you to hold your own in your pickup basketball game or walk more effortlessly on the beach with a loved one?  Does it make you happier?  Hopefully the answer to these questions is yes, even if that six pack hasn’t quite shown itself yet.  Be consistent and patient, confident that when you put your best efforts into your training results will follow.

At the end of the day we all want to be the best versions of ourselves.  Better spouses, parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers.  Let your workouts energize and excite you, have faith that when you work hard you are getting better each and every day.  Better physically, better mentally, and all in all a better version of yourself.

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