Celebrate Small Victories

At least a few times a week, I’ll get super excited over an athlete’s victory in class. Maybe they’ll PR a lift, get their first kipping pull-ups, or just do a lift with a LOT better technique than they had previously been doing. I get super excited, but do they? Sometimes not! I’m not going to name names 😉 but it could go something like this…

Coach: “Ah! You got your first strict handstand push-up, that’s awesome!”

Athlete: “Ugh, but I can’t link them together.” or “Ugh, but it was just one.” or even “Ugh, but it has taken me a year.”

That you? You get momentarily happy, and then beat yourself up for not doing even better than what you did? You’re not alone.

So many people fail to realize that small victories add up. Small victories grow one on top of another and they become big changes.

There was a time I couldn’t handstand walk. And then I took 2 steps. TWO! Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but after I did 2, then I worked up to 6! Then I was stuck at 8-10 for a long time. But then I broke through and got 15 feet, and then 25 feet, and eventually 50 feet!

There was a time when I used the green band for pull-ups. Then I used a smaller band! Then OMGIDIDASTRICTPULLUP! Then I kipped 2! Then I kipped a bunch! Then I did butterfly! But you see, I didn’t go from banded pull-ups to butterfly pull-ups. We make our progress incrementally. We make our progress gradually.

Your homework is to take a step back. Especially if you’ve been doing this for awhile, and the progress seems to be slower. Look at how far you’ve come, and try to make note of ALL the small victories that added up to get you where you are. The next time your form gets notably better, you increase weight on a lift, you get a gymnastics movement for the first time, you reach full depth on a squat… celebrate. You worked hard to get there, and you are one step closer to where you might want to go. It’s a journey. Enjoy each step.