I haven’t been a beginner in something for a while. I was a beginner in CrossFit once – but it was so long ago sometimes people worry I might not ‘get it’. But this week, I really got to experience all those beginner feels all over again.
I’m in Japan, with a whole bunch of family, learning to snowboard. Well, Riley and I are learning, everyone else is already amazing at it!! So we are the newbies. This week has been hard, i have probably enjoyed about 40% of it, struggled through 50% and actually hated it a good 10% of the time! But here are some things I learnt to help get through those stages.
You need to remind yourself constantly about why you’re doing this. When it’s -8 degrees and I just smashed my face into the ground for the 50th time today, I REALLY had to have tough conversations with myself to remember I *wanted* to learn this. It was a choice and I knew the hard work was for the greater good. I wanted to be able to snowboard and I wanted to feel good about it. Your first day, week, month in the gym is going to be hard. Remember why you’re doing it and remember that goal is much bigger than those few moments of struggle!
It feels REALLY GOOD to overcome challenges. There were days I didn’t even want to get out of bed. There were days I’d hit my head or bust my knee one too many times and want to go home early. But every time I got back on my board, went back up the chair lift and tried again, I’d feel really proud of myself for pushing through. Even better when I noticed the progress in my skills. Nobody feels good taking the easy option all the time. Challenge yourself at the gym or in your diet, for your goals, nothing is more motivating than realising how much you’re truly capable of!
Focus on the bright spots. I can’t tell you how many times I stacked it on day one. And they HURT. Not just my body but inside. So. Frustrating. But at the end of day one, I could get down a hill on a snowboard. It was kind of amazing for one day!! I could have thought about how I was cold, wet, tired, my cousins were all acing it down the mountain with hardly any falls – but no, I focused on me and my bright spots. I was on a snowboard!! When you start a new health venture it’s really easy to think about all the things you can’t eat, all the things you can’t do at the gym, how good everyone else is. That shit is EXHAUSTING. And so, so demotivating. Focus on YOUR bright spots. You made it. You did 20 pushups and you haven’t done that in 20 years. You came to the gym twice this week. AMAZING! And super motivating. Success breeds success, take it!
Don’t expect your plan to go perfectly. We signed up for 6 days of snowboarding. We did maybe like 4 and a half. We paid a lot of money and committed hard to our goal. But it was super hard, we were really beat up and really tired. So we took a whole day off. Then we went home early a couple times. Overall, the week was REALLY successful and we felt amazing about our efforts. We could have beat ourselves up about missing days or going home early but that would be crazy! This was our first real effort at snowboarding of course it’s going to be hard and tiring and we’re not gonna be able to go like pros back to back every day. So don’t expect that of yourself either. If you say you’re gonna go to the gym every day or cut out all junk food, that’s awesome! But it probably won’t all happen in week one. It’s okay to start with 3 days and rest or take a cheat day. Maybe next week you can do 4 and just have a cheeky snack instead of a whole day. It’s new, give your body and mind time to adjust to your new routine.
Get a coach. Learning stuff kinda sucks. Building a new routine, pushing yourself through discomfort and pain for a goal is hard work. But it’s even harder when you don’t really know what you’re doing, where you should place the most of your energy, what you should focus on and can’t see your own flaws. In two days of snowboarding lessons, we were turning (basically the whole of what snowboarding is!). I actually tried once on my own about 5 years ago – I fluffed around for a couple hours for 2 days and I went home early each day angry, hurt, confused and disappointed. I put in lots of work, but I didn’t really know what I was doing and I didn’t get anywhere!
There is nothing worse than setting your big goals, putting your heart and soul into it only to find out you’re working on the wrong stuff, wasting your time or going home feeling confused and frustrated. Coaches are important for every skill and goal! We’re always here to help ?
So what about you? Is it time to try something new and accept the beginner life? Every time you challenge yourself to the next level or for a new goal, you’re going to have some falls. Maybe heaps of them. But as long as you pick yourself up and try again, you’ll keep getting better and you’ll get there.
What are your goals this year? Let’s reach them together!