“Better” Has No Finish Line ~ Lessons I’m Learning From Crossfit, Part 2

Better has no finish line

Arrowhead Ad ~ CBS Television

Most of you know I started doing Crossfit back in September. (For those of you who don’t know what the heck that is, click here.)

This “getting back in shape” stuff is killing me.

Last week, I shared with you some important lessons Crossfit is teaching me about writing. Today, I want to talk about what Crossfit is teaching me about myself.

I have a hard time embracing the process of change.

Change doesn’t bug me so much when it’s quick…kind of like sucking in a breath and ripping off a bandage. Fast, sweeping changes, even when I have no choice, don’t bother me as much as the incremental, “chipping away miniscule pieces” kind. You know, the kind where you don’t even see the daily progress because it’s so slight?

That water-dripping-on-a-rock kind of change drives me into a frenzy of impatience, usually followed by the temptation to give up the goal.

Others I know, including my own husband are great at putting (and keeping) their faith in the process. They trust that one day, they’ll look in the mirror and BAM! All those tiny chips have paid off and they’ll have sculpted out a finished goal…a clean office…a book…a better body.

Laura Drake does this better than anyone I know. She sits her butt down every morning at 3 am, often with no idea what she’s going to write, and she trusts in the process. Note: if you want to read about it, she wrote a great post called Press on Regardless.

This weakness of mine, even though I couldn’t articulate it before, is why I jumped in to do Crossfit with my husband. Because I knew I’d  quit on my own.

And my hat’s off to Hubby on this one. The poor man hears comments like:

  • Is anything on me smaller/harder/higher/better?
  • Can’t you find any difference?
  • How come you’re losing all those inches on your waist and I haven’t shed a pound?!
  • Remind me again why we’re doing this!!

I swear to God, I’m often like a kid on a car ride: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet??”

Usually, he just points at our daughter. But a few weeks back, he eyeballed me and said, “Your ribs are sticking out more.” It might have only been like a half-inch difference, but I was happy for days.

Slow change SUCKS, in my humble opinion.

I’m a big-picture kind of gal and it’s really hard to envision the importance of “slow change” in a big-picture kind of way. I’m struggling with the need to be patient…there’s just no way around it. I just can’t get stronger any faster.

I keep reminding myself to keep the faith, and wait to see where a year of this crap will take me.

But I have to admit it: after four months of hard exercise, it’s tough to swallow that I’m still incapable of doing a great push-up. (Frankly, I’d even settle for a crappy one, as long as my body was extended and I was doing more than oozing to the floor.)

Then…at a staff meeting this week, I got a message from the universe.

I watched four highly placed executives get up and publicly admit that their management style wasn’t working and ask their team for help. I saw integrity and teamwork in action. And one of the people in the meeting mentioned the quote I used in the title of this post:

Better has no finish line.

The subscript of the ad above says: “Better is in our nature. It’s who we were born to be.”

And I got it. In watching others pick themselves up and dust off their cracked egos, I saw the answer: As long as you keep trying, eventually you will be strong enough and proficient enough to attain your goal. Get a good coach and a good team to help you stay on task.

My recommendation? Be sure to include someone like my guy who’ll notice miniscule changes and compliment you on them. Trust the gal with the bony ribs…it helps. 🙂

Is this a challenge for you too? Are you better with making sweeping changes, or just chipping away at your goals? What helps you or hinders you the most? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!


Special Announcement:

Registration is now open for WANACon, an entirely online writer’s conference (including the opportunity to book appointments with agents).

The conference runs February 22 to February 23, and you can register for one day or both. I’m currently scheduled to teach at least one session and I don’t know yet which day. I’ll be sure to announce it immediately when I know.

Click here to register for both days.
Click here to register for Day 1.
Click here to register for Day 2.

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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33 Responses to “Better” Has No Finish Line ~ Lessons I’m Learning From Crossfit, Part 2

  1. Laura Drake says:

    Jenny, everyone wants fast! You’ve heard me whine, about how hard things are….that’s okay. You love me, you put up with me. But not stopping is the thing. I am SO proud of you! Finish this, then we’ll apply it to writing!

    You didn’t think I could let it go without a ‘gentle’ nudge, did you?
    You go, Girlfriend – you’ll get there.

    P.S. – I can’t do a pushup either.


  2. Emma Burcart says:

    You are so right on with this post! It is hard to accept the slow changes, even though the truth is those are usually the best and most lasting changes. We are just used to things happening so quickly. What I love about CrossFit is not only that I get a good workout, but that my whole body becomes stronger and the amazing community involved. Especially all the other women who are working out. You don’t get that feeling at a big gym. There is a facebook page called Women of Crossfit = Strong that is all about motivation. You should check it out. Thanks for sharing your lesson with us. It really does relate to all areas of life. Isn’t there some saying about it, like: The best things are worth the wait. Or something like that. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I will check that page out, Emma! I agree that it is SO encouraging in that gym. Everyone cheering you on while you finish your round, and helping you to get your weights on (or in my case, usually OFF). And whenever I get discouraged, I get reminded that “at least I’m there.”

      But it’s damn hard to wait to get strong. And all the muscle I’m packing on has made me GAIN two pounds. So…I’m trying to trust in the “the process.”


  3. Great post 🙂 If you think about it, it’s actually exciting that better has no finish line. It means we’re never going to hit a point where we have to accept that this is as good as it gets. If we don’t like the way it is now, we can keep working to make it better.


    • Woo-hoo, Marcy! Your perspective that we should never hope for “…this is as good as it gets…” sang Go Forth and Conquer! to me this morning. Yes. I know there isn’t a song with that title. There should be.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m with you, Marcy. I’m just having to learn not to be in such a damn hurry to be finished already. The getting in shape will never be finished, but hopefully I can start to enjoy it more than I do. As I said in Part 1 of this, I like “having exercised” much more than actually doing it. 🙂


  4. I laughed-out-loud on your descriptor of oozing to the ground with push ups, Jenny. Why? Because that is SO how mine look. Until yesterday, that is.

    During my kickbox/weight/yoga class, my sciatic nerve kicked my right leg into pain. One of the gals knew a stretch exercise to relieve the pain. Lay on your tummy, arch your back and streeeeetch. I did that, and then I did it again. And then, I pushed myself up in a straight plank and lowered to the floor again. I think I’d done three reps before I realized, “Holy Crap! I just did a push-up!”

    I am, and always have been a I want it now! gal. [Why do potential double entendres invent themselves when I innocently type along? No clue.]

    But, I know most worthwhile things take time. Example: Those fluffy, happy, tummy fat cells got there one Holiday cookie, one piece of cake, one brownie at a time. They aren’t going away without a fight. So, I talk to the abs. They’re still there, and I am beginning to see them peek through the fluff.

    YOU GO, girl! We’ll rock the Amish Erotics when I get to So California. (Maybe next month? Haven’t ruled it out!)


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nice, Gloria…we’d love to see you. You and me will have a date at Starbucks.

      And way to go on those THREE full length push-ups. I haven’t managed one yet, but I will. Likely one day when I’m not paying attention, just like you. 🙂


  5. Pushups are one of the many banes of my existence. I’ve decided I’m okay with not having perfect pushups. And how WONDERFUL is the title of this post? I Love it! On board. REady to press on. Forever. Hugs!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I love that quote too, Christine. It’s been making me happy all week long. 🙂 You keep on your push-ups and I’ll keep on mine. We’ll show each other our stuff at the next OCC meeting, OK? LOL…


  6. Ginger Calem says:

    Love the analogy. It makes me think of something I think about sometimes and that is that there is no time limit on improvement. We can keep trying forever and always get better. Who’s going to stop us besides ourselves? 🙂


  7. From your lips! Hubby and I decided yesterday to rework ourselves. Too much fluff around the middle! And a push-up? Not in this lifetime!

    Thanks, Jenny, for reminding me that It went on an ounce at a time and that’s the way it will come off. Going to bookmark this post and pull it out when I get discouraged. 🙂


  8. Cory Imhof says:

    OMG! It’s as if you we’re reading my mind. I am terrible at enduring the slow drip of change. I would much prefer the flash flood sweeping change over a slow, seemingly imperceptible trickle. So what do I do about this problem?


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I try to throw a bunch of rewards in the mix, and I really (REALLY) couldn’t do this without having my hubby there to share the pain of the workout. It’s a lovely thing when you feel like you literally broke your ass to know that your workout partner is feeling it too. I don’t know why it helps, but it does.


  9. Julie Glover says:

    I think what bugs me about change is the two steps forward, one step back thing. I can feel great one day, and then BAM! I’m off my game. Like I’ll write something absolutely wonderful one day, then stare at my screen in confusion the next. Or re-read something I wrote and wonder what the heck I was thinking. With exercise, I was doing Zumba, then pulled my calf muscle and was out for a while, then resumed Zumba, and now I’m sick and can’t work out. How frustrating!

    But I need to realize that I am getting better. It doesn’t take me as long to get back in the groove as it used to. So that’s progress, right? “My ribs are showing!” so to speak. 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      OMG, pulling the calf muscle is SO painful! I’m glad you’re back at it. And you’re right, you snap back to it fast. We walk and sit straighter, and find ourselves sucking in our guts more. And we’re far more flexible, which is huge.


  10. Sharlarae says:

    Jen, I can so relate! Esp when I try to get into shape. And I love that quote. Where does it come from. As I get older, I become more and more impatient — only so much time left, I tell myself. Logically, I know it’s wrong to think that way but …. On top of that, I have perfections issues. I need to use your quote more often and remind myself that an inch in the right direction is better than no inch at all! :0


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I don’t know where the quote comes from but it’s part of an ad campaign for Arrowhead water. That is a real billboard.

      I’ve always talked about baby steps but I have a hard time with them, despite being a proponent. I’m working on just focusing on “this one hour” or “this one Workout of the Day.” It seems to be helping.


  11. Debra Kristi says:

    I actually love working out. My problem is timing. I don’t have very much free time. I’m still trying to figure that one out. When I was at the weight I wanted to be I worked out while the kids were at school and got ready just in time to pick them up. Now that time is for social media. I’m trying to find that balance. I think it’s great that you are doing this. Once you hit your stride you should feel energized. You can do it! Yay, Jenny! I love that billboard. It’s fantastic.


  12. tomwisk says:

    Keep on going Jenny. We all are a work in progress. some of us quit early, some make it a life’s work and some, and I hate them, got the extra kit that makes the grind a null point.


  13. Catie Rhodes says:

    Give ’em hell, Jenny. After never exercising a day in my life, I got it in my fool head (about 15 years ago) that I wanted to become a “runner.” It took a long time, but I did it. And you will too. Of course, I don’t advise what else I did: finally, I decided not to exercise for the sake of exercising again. And I haven’t. And I enjoy life more. Really I do. But I am a lot less fit. Really, I am. 😉


  14. That is such a great title and motto. Sort of like the saying I used to hear alot – what’s the largest room in the world? The room for improvement! I used to hate hearing that, but guess what? It’s true.

    I’m with you on the no patience with dieting and exercise, but when it comes to other things I don’t mind being patient. Like writing. I know it’s a evolution process and I just go with the flow and realize that the book’ll be done when it’s done, just don’t ever stop working on it until it’s reached that final stage.

    I’m not one to quit generally speaking, but I do get tired and take breaks from things, like exercising. I’ll get back to in a month or so. When I’m ready.

    Keep up the good work, Jenny. You’ll get to where you want to be soon enough.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  15. “Slow change SUCKS, in my humble opinion.” LOLOLOL Jenny! You don’t know how your attitude resonates with me. Then I read this, “Better is in our nature. It’s who we were born to be.” Wow. Just wow. In my mind, that just means that we never give up. We never give up improving ourselves, no matter what. Don’t accept second best. Great post girl!


  16. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, you are more in the majority than the minority, and I’m right there with you, sista! It is SO hard to trust the process. I’m feeling that right now with the writing/self-pub gig, and I want signs and guarantees that just aren’t going to materialize. It requires a LOT of faith. I can’t say what’s down the road, but I sure hope I have enough guts to stick with it and make it there.

    Thanks for a fab post!


  17. Jane Sadek says:

    Slow change is hard to see. Start having hubby take a naked picture of you daily or weekly. Then you’ll both be able to see the change – and who knows what else might come up.


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