Patience & Persistence are Kings
Written by Connor Nellans
While talking to a newer member of our Invictus family the other day who has recently gotten back into exercising after some time off, he asked me, “If you could tell yourself something back when you started training, what would it be?”
I found this to be a thought-provoking question and it made me reflect on my path within training and fitness to find myself where I am today. I also found the answer to be one that did not include any tangible things. The answer wasn’t ‘follow this certain program’ or ‘train this amount of time this amount of days’ or ‘do this many squats vs hinges vs presses vs pulls a week’.
My answer was: Patience and persistence are kings. If you want to get strong, fit, healthy, lose weight, add muscle, increase performance, or any fitness goal I think the two most important things to know are that it takes patience and persistence.
This may seem obvious, but we often seek fast results and quick fixes. When in reality, accomplishing goals in this space (and most any space for that matter) takes TIME. You have to put the work in over an extended period of time. You have to make small investments now so that you can reap the rewards later.
Further, you also have to be persistent when you fail or feel you are not making progress. Because those days will come. Reflecting on myself, there are more days I can remember where I felt like I was not making progress and not moving closer to my goal than there were days I felt good about my progress. Of course, this was incorrect, but our psychology has a funny way to play this trick on us.
Maybe we didn’t lift a certain amount of weight, or PR a workout time, or we let our nutrition fall through over the weekend. This leads us to feel like we are not making progress. It makes us question why we are even doing this in the first place. But I think it is important to reframe these occurrences as steps forward toward our goal. Maybe we didn’t PR our back squat, but we took steps forward by getting reps under heavy weights and getting us just that little bit stronger for next time. Maybe we let our nutrition fall through, but we can understand this isn’t the end of our progress, and the next meal is a new meal to begin anew!
A great analogy that describes this perfectly likens accomplishing your goals to moving a pile of dirt. Your goal is to move this big pile of dirt from right here to over there. Some days you make great progress and get wheelbarrows full of dirt moved. Some days you get a few shovels full moved. And other days you might only get a few spoonfuls of dirt moved. But the point is that every day you are moving some dirt from here to there. And that is what it takes to accomplish a goal. You make progress every day towards that goal. Some days are wheelbarrows full and some days are only spoonfuls, but you always move closer.
You implement patience knowing that the pile will one day be moved to where you want it. And you implement persistence knowing that you have to continue moving the dirt bit by bit to get that pile moved from here to there.
So keep this in mind wherever you are on your fitness journey! Be patient with yourself and with the process. Know that you are making investments today (even small ones) so that your future self can reap the rewards. Understand that you must be persistent in making these investments, in moving that dirt, even when it feels all for naught. Always remember, patience and persistence are kings!