“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” –Bruce Lee
First, I am doing so much better now than I was when I wrote my last post. I had an all around great week – training, food, friends, work. Everything was in balance.
There are a couple of good things that happened this week. First, I signed up to participate in CrossFit for Hope on July 13th. It’s a fundraiser for St. Jude’s where all participants perform a WOD that is set up similar to a regular CrossFit competition, but without any of the pressure since it’s really just a charity event within the CrossFit community. The WOD is fairly basic and scalable so that you don’t have to be an elite athlete to participate.
When one of the guys at my CrossFit gym suggested I sign up, I was a bit apprehensive. I mean, I’ve only been doing CrossFit for what – 2 months? I didn’t feel ready. I looked up the WOD and started analyzing everything – thinking about a lot of “what if’s?” I had two layers of thought running simultaneously:
The top layer sounded something like, “Wow, what a great event. It’s a chance to become more involved within the CrossFit Weddington community, as well as the CrossFit community at large. It benefits a great cause, and since competing in CrossFit is something I would one day like to do, this would be the perfect opportunity to get a simulated competition experience with minimal pressure. I should definitely do this.”
The second layer sounded more like, “Kayla, you have only been doing CrossFit for a short time. You aren’t ready. You should just go watch. The WOD has power snatches in it – you’ve only done those like once before. Can you even do 55 lbs? And chest to bar pull-ups – you can’t do those. I mean, you could probably do like 3 strict pull-ups, but you don’t even know how to kip. What will people think about me if I can’t do more than a few reps of each exercise? What if my form sucks and people make fun of me?”
Overthinking anything invites negative self-talk. Seriously, I can talk myself out of anything if I allow myself the opportunity. So, I shut down the second layer of thought and registered for the event. Yes, I am still a little bit nervous about it, but I’m sure that I will be so happy that I did it once it’s over. I also recruited a friend to do it with me (thanks, Megan!), and there will be other members of CrossFit Weddington participating as well.
The second good thing that happened this week was that I finally started to get double-unders, which is where you jump rope, but the rope passes twice with every jump. I have dreaded DU’s in the workouts because I struggle so much with them. At CFW, you can either do the prescribed number of DU’s (50 in this case) or you can do singles (regular jump rope), but you have to do FIVE times as many as you would double-unders (250 each round). Nice incentive for learning DU’s, right?
The thing with double-unders is that when I am trying really hard to get them and thinking about it, I mess up every time. When I relaxed, stopped trying so hard, and stopped thinking so much, suddenly I had strung together 15 double-unders almost effortlessly. It’s a fundamental concept in sport psychology that when trying to improve technique, you simply focus on one thing. So let’s say I am working on cleans. I can’t be thinking to myself during the movement, “Keep your knees back, keep the bar close to the body, don’t start pulling too soon, drive the hips vertically, get under the bar.” In the two seconds that it takes for me to execute the lift, that is way too much input for my brain to process at once. When I overthink the lift, I mess up everything. Instead, I need to focus on the one thing I want to achieve in the next lift. So instead of thinking of the entire movement, I need to pick one part of the movement to think about, and that’s it.
Don’t let fear talk you out of doing something that your rational self knows you want to do or need to do, and don’t let perfectionism sabotage your efforts to improve. There’s a term out there, “paralysis by analysis,” that I am quite familiar with. Don’t let negative self talk and overthinking any decision render you inert. Think briefly, decide, then take a step. Too many people spend life on the sidelines with dreams they will never reach because they allowed their mind to chain them up, scared that if they make a step, it won’t be the “right” one. The step itself matters little – it’s the commitment to making one that matters.