Posts Tagged ‘Practice Makes Perfect’

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Practice makes perfect? No, practice makes progress!

Too often, athletes approach their training in search of the moment when they’ll be “strong enough” or “fast enough.” Unless you’re training to compete in a specific event, consider viewing fitness as your own unique method for physical self-expression.

Adding 50 lbs to your back squat, shaving two minutes off of your 5K run time, or increasing your flexibility enough to touch your toes for the first time are all great goals. But if you only view “success” as the day you achieve that goal, you’ll miss out on all of the smaller, incremental gains you make along the way.

Instead of striving for perfection in your health and fitness endeavors, strive for improvement. The phrase “practice makes perfect” sets too many people up for failure. “Practice makes progress,” on the other hand, is a philosophy that encourages and acknowledges improvement in any capacity.

As with many things in life, fitness should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. Let me know if you need help setting goals for yourself. Finding something that excites you, and then creating a road map on how to get there is a really fun process.

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The sentence “Practice makes perfect” is a lie. Yet, humans say it all the time, and usually to children. It’s simply not a fact. There are a number of things I could practice on a daily basis and see only marginal improvements over a long period of time. Today, we’re going to talk about practice.

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Let’s start by discussing just two of the many factors that could impede reaching perfection. Age can play a role in one’s ability to find success in a particular area. While I’m not saying it’s impossible, I do feel confident saying that very few humans in their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s could train and compete at an Olympic level in most sports. No matter how often grandpa hits the track, I don’t see him beating Usain Bolt in the 100m Sprint, I’m sorry. Genetics can also play a major role in one’s athletic development and potential. If a person isn’t over six feet tall or incredibly explosive, the odds of being able to dunk a basketball on a full-sized hoop are not very good. (I still think that’s a bucket list goal of mine, by the way!)

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Actual footage of me currently trying to dunk

Aside from age, genetics, and a long list of other things, that logic doesn’t even address what “perfection” even means. In nearly every discipline, sport, task, or skill, perfection is often a subjective term. What looks, sounds, or tastes perfect to you, may taste far from it to me. So why work to attain this a title or status they may very well be simply unreachable?

Instead, let’s change that first sentence (Practice makes perfect) just a little bit. What if it read, “Effective practice will almost always help you improve at a given task.” In that case, I think a lot more of us would nod our heads in agreement. While we typically associate the word practicing with activities and skills like sports, music, and languages, there are so many other things in our lives that can also be improved through dedicated time and focus.

Want to be a better weightlifter? Find a decent coach and get on a proven strength program. Then lift. Often. Want to feel and show more gratitude? Start each morning and end each night by writing a list of three things you’re grateful for in your life. Keep that journal close-by to remind yourself on days where you struggle. Want to read more? Instead of surfing on your phone before you go to bed, read 10 pages. Not only is it better for your eyes and your brain (to actually allow them to wind down after the day), but after only a few weeks, it will become part of your routine. You will likely get better at whatever activity you chose because you devoted time to practicing in order to get better at it.

I’ve been trying to read more, and even with the book on my nightstand, it hasn’t become high enough of a priority for me. That’s one thing I’m going to practice more! To help yourself be more accountable, what’s one thing you want to practice more often? Let’s continue to hold each other accountable and support one another in our quest to be better than we were yesterday!

When I saw the video below, it really made me stop and think. We’re each already REALLY GOOD at certain things. Choosing to practice and develop those things that make us happy drastically increases our chances of becoming really good at being happy. Similarly, choosing to practice things that make us sad, angry, or resentful, will likely make us really good at being sad, angry, or resentful. It’s so powerful to realize that it’s fully in our control to intentionally choose what we nurture in and for ourselves. Think about that for a second… Practice doesn’t make perfect. But devoting practice towards things that improve our lives can make a profound impact on who we are as people!