In the first two posts, I discussed habits and strategies to create new practices without deadlines. Now let's finish up with an important topic - identities and why they matter for your development.
After a decade of preoccupation with developing my physical body, I began feeling a lack of direction and, even scarier, an internal emptiness. So in 2017, I went through a Sex & Relationship Coaching Program with the Somatica Institute. I struggled with intimate relationship skills my whole life and decided to take a leap. One of the first things we discussed were parts of ourselves that we were ashamed of. I joined the program because my Asian upbringing had never prepared me to be a sexual being that speaks freely about my feelings to myself and potential partners. And when facing my own shame, I inevitably had to question my own identity as an Olympic Weightlifter. My personal drive to become an expert in Olympic weightlifting grew from shame around my body.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) Focus on the process. Deadline goals can make us take shortcuts. Make small behaviors to create a lasting identity.
In part one of this series, I talk about how goals are fleeting. An identity has habits that last longer with less effort.
In this post I want to tell you about how "goals with deadlines" didn't work for me. And then discuss what I did instead to make small changes in my life.
Last year I tried to take on two goals - writing a book on Mindful Fitness, learning to shoot and edit videos for Olympic weightlifting education. Because I focused only on the outcome I got caught in the perfection loop. This killed steady progress. I would get started with will-power and get bogged down when I ran out of energy. I didn't feel good about myself. Instead of gaining skills and building an identity SLOWLY as someone that writes everyday and shoots and edits videos regularly, I ended the year disappointed.
I was looking at the end...
Deadlines and goals are not enough in the long-term.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read) - Don't set goals or specific deadlines to "get in shape". Build an environment that support an identity of a person that eats real food, builds physical resilience, and has awareness of self-destructive thought patterns.
The achievement of a goal is so fleeting. It actually doesn't feel very good for long. What consistently brings contentment on a lasting daily basis is the reward of doing behaviors that are aligned with an identity. That is going to be important later.
It's January and people are looking to make changes in their Health and Fitness. But for the last decade of my life I haven't really set any definitive goals. Not only did I see myself repeatedly fail at the "New Year, New Me" craze that happens every January, but I stumbled upon this realization accidentally. The first major change happened when I was able to begin CrossFit at Mad...
My close friend Gordon, a Brazilian-Jiujitsu player, asked me a great question on fitness.
One of them was, "Why do you keep saying babies are the best athletes?"
I will do my best to tell you my theory and how it plays out in my coaching.
Babies are the best athletes because they know when to start and stop. A baby does not force training along.
It is easy to believe that athletes in high-levels "push the limits". I argue elite athletes know exactly when to "punch" and when to back off. I think they have honed self-care skills like eating, sleeping, and relaxing to high degrees.
When a baby is tired from "training" she just stops moving. She may cry if she needs to eat, sleep, have a diaper change, or play. We are not certain how babies start as blobs and evolve into upright citizens. The best guess we have is a "movement blueprint" lies in our body from birth.
Let me take you through the first months of an infant's "sport" - for now we will say her sport is "training to walk".
In part two, we talked about Open Relationships and widening the scope of my own Movement practice.
Last year I went to a gathering with GMB Fitness, and all three of the owners were present (and my old strong friend Chip Conrad of BodyTribe). From the outside it looked like just bodyweight training, or what people call Gymnastics. And I expected to just have some fun getting better at handstands and ring-work. But to my great surprise, GMB Head Coach Ryan Hurst would start by telling us that we didn’t have to just do Gymnastics to get better at gymnastics. GASP. He told us we could do anything we wanted with his teachings - he was talking about physical freedom, or what he calls “physical autonomy”. And the more I learned about GMB, it was about giving people practical tools to use Bodyweight training simply to enhance their own lifestyles OUTSIDE the gym. I had found other people trying to communicate that too. Chip Conrad wrote...
In part one, we talked about Paradigm Shifts and Exercise Monogamy. And now we'll look at ACTUAL monogamy.
Let’s look at the dominant model of romantic relationships - Monogamy. So it turns out that even though monogamy is the default in relationships, it doesn’t work for everybody. Just look at the divorce rate and cultural acceptance of cheating (or dishonest outsourcing). In my experience if people are unhappy in a relationship (that has poor communication of needs/boundaries), they will outsource dishonestly if they are not getting their needs met. That means if they can’t get sex or intimacy in the main relationship, they will find one way or another to get it. And one reason people choose to outsource dishonestly in relationships is because we are complicated creatures with many desires. We cannot possibly fulfill every fantasy or need through one person. And I think this holds true for Physical Activity too. This is why people can love...
TL;DR- Be an Exercise/Movement slut and do whatever you want.
edit: The original post was so long I had to break it into three parts.
I've been going through internal changes and want to speak from the heart- a paradigm shift to be exact. A "Paradigm Shift" was coined by historian of science Thomas Kuhn as a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions, relating specifically to scientific approaches like Copernicus or Einstein.
Olympic-weightlifting as a Movement style has been my chosen physical activity of choice for the past 9 years. My motto used to be, “Lifting is life”. It was my first love with physical culture and it taught me important life lessons. Everything from how to perform in front of a crowd, to managing fear and physical discomfort, to working hard for intrinsic rewards. It has even provided me with a way to make a living that gives me freedom from a desk. And I thought we would both be happy in a relationship and end up happily ever...
A “Meet Cute” is the 1-minute story of how a couple met each other and began dating. It’s the story that the Best Man or Maid of Honor tells at the wedding with the slideshow. I believe with the advent of online/app dating culture that vital elements of courtship are becoming ignored for expediency in sexual conquest. I want to share how living in the woods unexpectedly taught me how to be an in-demand lover and better Sex & Intimacy coach.
Rewind to November of 2016, when I enrolled in the Sigma 3 Wilderness Survival School instructor program for six weeks. I slept in a debris hut in sub-freezing temperatures every night. We learned primitive skills the long-hand way like making shelter and fire from scratch, find water, and create useful items out of wood like containers and backpacks. I learned the value of having a good knife on me too. My best friend and I went the whole nine...
I distrusted “gym culture” most of my life, but if I was being honest I did want to feel strong in my body. I grew up thinking that if I “built muscle” I would have to trade my intelligence and dignity to become a “meathead” that only cared about vanity. It turns out that I was wrong about a lot of things.
For over nine years I have collected experience as a full-time personal trainer and competitive Olympic-style weightlifter. I studied with Olympic-level coaches, health professionals, and I worked with hundreds of clients, while putting on dozens of workshops. I am comfortable using my body to do all feats of strength and flexibility on command. I also grew to love the outdoors, so much that I became a Wilderness Survival instructor. I also started my journey as a Somatic Sex & Relationship Coach. And what I soon...