Not because it’s easy but because it’s hard
We all have goals, dreams, ambitions which we hang onto but don’t believe we’ll ever get around to achieving. Why do we do that to ourselves?
In my mind, either we’re not setting ourselves the right challenges (to be explored in a talk I'm giving next month), or we’re holding back on our true potential and propping ourselves up with excuses (to be explored right now).
Our dreams to live in the mountains, move to Cape Town, own a café, learn to samba. They are all achievable, but bizarrely we’re not doing anything towards achieving them.
The positive impact of working towards your goal, and hopefully achieving it, will outlive the challenge itself. Not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. The highs, the lows - learning the easy and the hard way – it’s a refreshing shake up of life as you know it.
I have a dream. For years now, I’ve wanted to do a backflip. I have done nothing about it to date though. What's been holding me back?
Probably the same as most people: procrastination, the scale of the task, self-belief and external perception. Let's ponder for a moment.
I - Procrastination
The fact you have to actually do something to get somewhere is a bit of a pain sometimes. Why can’t I just do a backflip right here right now?! I’ve been procrastinating. Too busy. Mañana. One day. Next year.
To get over this, get rid of excuses.
- Don’t like your trainers? Replace them
- Don’t know where to swim? E-mail me and I’ll point you in the right direction
- Not enough time? Ramp up the importance of achieving your goal
- Don't know where gymnastics teachers hide themselves? Phone a friend or Google
From zero to hero is tough in anything. Pro athletes had to be beginners once upon a time (...am purposefully ignoring the fact they were probably 4 years old and didn’t know what fear and embarrassment was – it’s never too late).
II - Bitesizing
By making the task ahead more manageable, we can help ourselves move forward baby step style. To visualize how I get to be a backflip wizard, I’m bitesizing the road to success.
It’s almost funny that I only took the initiative to look into learning to backflip for the first time last week.
I googled, recalled my crossfit coach mentioned gymnastics once, sent him an email, then made a call to the gym he recommended. Turns out I can start in September. If you would like to join me, all the details are on the eXerK Birthday Backflip challenge.
See how much you guys help me get things done with these 52in52!
III - Self belief
Self-belief has got in the way too. I doubt I’ll ever be able to backflip.
Gymnastics was never my thing – too many pointy toes and futile stag leaps. But that was then. This is now. What’s the harm in trying?
If it’s at all possible, I’ll find a way. If it’s impossible, at least I know and can move on (to freediving - another dream, while living on a beach – and another).
Whatever you do, do it for yourself. Make sure you actually want your goal and it’s not just someone else’s dream projected onto you.
IV - External perception
What people will think when, instead of a swishy birthday backflip, they see a swashy backwards roll, or if I’m lucky a back flop, is obviously a small concern.
The judgement of others, particularly if there is a competitive element to it, can hold us back. It can also push us forwards. All achievements are relative - on you, on conditions, on preparation. It doesn’t matter. Aim to enjoy the challenge and the rest will follow.
Completing not competing works for a lot of people. Remember, you don’t have to do an organised event/ race. Quite a lot of eXerK challenges have been fictitious, fanciful (always active) tomfoolery. You can get creative and dream something up yourself.
So wish me luck
I could well fail this challenge. If anyone knows anyone who can do a backflip, please let me know - I need help!! If you don't, hopefully you will know someone (me!) who can backflip in 2 months time.
As my first ever blog back in November testified to: A goal is a dream with a deadline. My deadline is ticking - 56 days and counting… Better get on with it.