This is a writing about perception, expectation, and reaching beyond yourself. We are very often limited, no by our actual potential and abilities, but rather by having wrong thoughts and views of ourselves and thus shooting for goals that are only a few meters away instead of reaching for stars.
You are more capable than you imagine. The human body, through obvious and radical design, can undertake extraordinary feats; unwaveringly able to ascend the tallest peaks in the world, run at speeds in excess of 25 mph… or create a baby. In spite of being gifted these incredible machines we call “bodies”, many of us have underestimated our potential to the degree that even basic levels of physical health and strength elude us. The first step forward in physical endeavors is realizing they are 75% mental (although an arbitrary statistic, you get the point). Changing our minds and/or faith in ourselves and our potentialities is a process and it often occurs as we commit in our hearts to “try hard” and stick with goals until we see progress. A paradigm shift can also come as easily as reading these paragraphs. Nearly every major breakthrough I’ve experienced athletically (and in almost any area of my life) can be traced back to someone speaking a word into me, “You can do this!” Simultaneously encouraging and adjusting my self-perception. Let me encourage you today in whatever your personal aims are, “You can do it! You’re stronger and more capable than you think you are.” I truly believe that.
It is important when altering our perception that our expectations change too. Quite often this will happen automatically. As we view ourselves as more able our expectations of success increase correspondingly. Additionally, there are ways we can take a deliberate role in shaping our expectations. One way is through self talk; engaging our minds in positive reinforcement regarding a task can be the difference between success and failure. When you’re thinking about goals, allow your mind to be filled with words of encouragement. When I’m climbing a difficult boulder I don’t sit and meditate on how hard it is, I consciously recite positivities to myself such as, “You can totally make that move. Pull hard, stay tight and don’t let go!” It’s amazing how often I succeed after this brief mantra. If you ever catch yourself in negative self talk get rid of it immediately! You are the one person you need believing in you! One other tactic you can utilize is visualization; playing movies of you succeeding on the silver screen of your mind. Imagine yourself achieving your goals and really experience it! There is little difference whether we experience ourselves succeeding in our minds or in the physical, both create the desired neurological effects and pathway developments, so doing these exercises programs you for progress.
Lastly, if you want to see advancement in your personal abilities, fitness or life in general, be ready and willing to reach beyond your perceived limits. It’s not wrong to be honest with ourselves about our limitations but the vast majority of people (99%... myself included) have never touched the boundaries of what they are capable of and therefore must not set up limits where none have been actually established. Set big goals, ones that are beyond you right now, permit setbacks along the path to attaining them, and realize that when you are pushing yourself toward the reaches of your potential, even temporary failures are likely far beyond where you would be if you weren’t giving it your all! Small, attainable goals have been proven to be effective in causing growth, but don’t forget to dream big and to see these short term successes as stepping stones to long term accomplishment.
Wherever you happen to be on the path regarding your personal health, well-being or fitness, you’re in a good place. Everyone is inevitably moving forward from where they are, right now, and there is no wrong way or point to begin from. Just remember as you proceed to perceive yourself and abilities in a positive light, allow your expectations to be shaped by words and visions of success, and be willing to reach beyond your current place of being, knowing that those who aim big and fall short are still likely to achieve far more than they initially thought possible!