Looking Backward Won’t Propel You Forward

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Well, your finger crossing worked! No box jumps in the first CrossFit Games Open workout. Hooray! Here’s what I’m up against:

Proceed through the sequence below completing as many reps as possible in 17 minutes of:
40 Burpees
45 pound Snatch, 30 reps
30 Burpees
75 pound Snatch, 30 reps
20 Burpees
100 pound Snatch, 30 reps
10 burpees
120 pound Snatch, as many reps as possible

While I’m super happy it’s not box jumps, I have to say I’m not that thrilled with all the burpees — especially since there were 70 at the end of our workout on Tuesday. YIKES! :)

burpees

But I’m happy that I can even participate, and this year that is a win. I’ve been thinking a lot about this year vs. last year recently. At least once a day actually, thanks to Timehop. I have a love/hate relationship with that app. You are probably using it too, but in case you aren’t it’s an app that gives you a daily update of what you were doing a year ago based on your facebook/twitter feeds. Sometimes it is awesome and makes me think back on good times and get all warm and fuzzy.

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On the flip side, sometimes I read what I was doing a year ago and I think, “Man, my life looks very different right now.” And then I kind of miss my old life. I had that feeling the other day when my timehop linked to my tweet about this post  which coincidentally, was the day I made my CrossFit Games Competitor Profile last year.

I read through it and realized that so many things look different now. I am no longer working out on that schedule. My work schedule has made it practically impossible to workout in the mornings these days, so that workout efficiency isn’t possible. I’m also working out less. I’m not lifting as heavy as I was last year and well,  I STILL have that 40lbs to lose. When I reviewed that post the other day it kind of bummed me out.

But I’ve thought about it and thought about it some more and talked myself into the idea that viewing life as a singular snapshot doesn’t always reveal the complexities of daily routines. And likewise, sometimes when we work on many goals at once our efficacy changes.  What it takes to get to ALL of our goals isn’t just easily cross-off-able lines on a black and white list. I have spent the last year traveling and busting my tail at work to get a promotion. A promotion that was a bit of a financial game changer for my little (and hopefully soon to be growing) family. That was a purposeful decision and it took sacrifice. Part of what I sacrificed was how much weight I can snatch, you know?

Was it worth it? HELL YES. Do I still fret over things like that when I’m in the gym though? YOU KNOW IT. But I also think I’m getting ready to let that go. And I think letting that go will actually help me feel a greater appreciation for where I am presently. And where I am in the present IS A REALLY GREAT PLACE TO BE.

Comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy

We’ve all seen this quote floating around on the internet and I know it is a common touchstone for people when they are feeling envy of others. But I also think it is important to acknowledge that when you compare versions of yourself you are also doing a disservice. Life is not lived in a vacuum. The variables of today are not the variables of yesterday. The only constant is change, right? And as long as I’m evaluating, adapting and acting — I am succeeding.

And let this be your little daily reminder that no matter where you were a year ago, you are succeeding too.

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14 comments to Looking Backward Won’t Propel You Forward

  • Jennifer
    March 7, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Thank you for this! You have perfect timing. I feel like I have been looking backwards for too long, and after caving and eating birthday cake (not my birthday which makes it worse!) for breakfast I have spent the rest of the day feeling guilty and like a failure. I am the same weight as I was 2 years ago, but am I healthier? Happier? Know myself better? Yes. I wouldn’t want to go back to eating 10 calorie processed jello pots. So I’m the same weight…it sucks but I feel better educated, and love living in the Paleo community:)

    • Holly
      March 7, 2013 at 8:51 am

      I know! I need to keep my “health” metrics at the forefront of my mind and not always default to performance or weight metrics. Because stressing myself out about only being able to life 95 lbs rather than 100 lbs sure isn’t doing me any good, right?

  • Tamara
    March 7, 2013 at 6:41 am

    I read that last quote as “compassion is the thief of joy,” and thought, wait, that can’t be right… Lol

    • Holly
      March 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Does it make me a bad person that sometimes having compassion DOES take away from my joy sometimes…haha. Well, at least when I’m feeling bitchy. :)

  • Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan
    March 7, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Oh! That quote. I cling to that quote as a reminder sometimes. I’m in a good place now, but I’ve spent the last 2 years or so comparing myself the the version of me that still had a thyroid, that had reached her goal weight, that felt AWESOME all the time.

    HOW MEAN IS THAT?!

    I didn’t fall face first into a Krispy Kreme box or stop working out so I could lie on the couch and watch TV instead. I had a vital gland removed and there was some fallout. But still, I unfavorably compared the heavier, less energetic, older me with the younger, healthier, fitter me.

    That is whack.

    So I don’t (mostly don’t) do that anymore.

    You are 100% right. We’re always changing and moving forward. Looking back with fondness can be warm and snuggle and sweet. Looking ahead with enthusiasm and optimism can be motivating and energizing. Being present is peace and joy and goodness.

    Wishing you a day of being present and feeling the love. Hugs to you, special lady. You are the fucking bomb.

    • Holly
      March 7, 2013 at 8:49 am

      You’re the best and I super totally MAJORLY owe you an email and it is very close to the top of my list, for the record. :) xo

  • sizzle
    March 7, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Who came up with the names of the exercises in crossfit? Burpees? Snatch? They crack me up. :-)

    This is a good reminder for us all not to compare. Life’s priorities are constantly shifting and to say you’re failing if you’re not doing what you were doing last year is a misstep in self-acceptance. I’m not able to work out as much at my dance studio since I moved but I bought a house. So, win? Once I get through crazy month at work, I hope to find a new routine that involves more exercise closer to home.

    • Holly
      March 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Right? Snatches still make me giggle. :)

      You are so right about priorities…they ARE always shifting and I just never recalibrate based on that. It’s like a serious personality flaw of mine. If I did a bang up job one time, I assume that EVERY TIME must be at that effort and frankly, I know it’s not realistic. But emotionally? I have to sort of talk myself into it.

  • Isla
    March 7, 2013 at 8:30 am

    After dealing with a massive life change a couple of years ago, I learned that what I truly want is a joyful and meaningful life. The simplicity of that being my main goal has helped me let go of the past and do the best I can today. Even if the best I can do today is take a step back.

  • Erin
    March 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

    It’s so good to hear someone else say this. I always have trouble accomplishing all of my goals, I feel like I always have too many balls in the air and wind up getting upset at myself when I drop one.
    I’m trying to stop focusing on the one goal that I’m not doing to hot at and start focusing on the twelve others that I am :)

    http://www.erindepew.com/blog

  • Alex
    March 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Just need to say thank you. I have had to take a long time out from my sport (karate) due to injury and illness, and have really been struggling with getting back into it. When I saw the title of your blog post I realised why. Every time I train I compare myself to what I was 3 years ago, when I was at my most proficient. I spend so much of my time thinking about I can’t do now that was then that I am sapping all the the joy from something that has changed my life in every way. It gave me purpose in life when I felt I had none and is how I meet my husband-to-be. Thank you for the gift of this perspective…

  • Jess
    March 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Love your enthusiasm and honesty!!! Juggling it all is tough, sister… keep up the great work!!!

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