Many things have shifted and changed course over the last two years. Needless to say, having one’s first child is a life altering redirection. But this isn’t about having a first kid. It’s about learning to walk. The term “baby steps” is synonymous with teaching a little one how to walk. For the good part of a baby’s first year alive it basically just lays there. Unable to lift its head, wriggling around and just getting acclimated to its surroundings. Before we know it the adventure begins. She’ll start to get one hand in front of the other, then a knee will move and we’re off to the races.
Crawling is infinitely better than lying in one spot, plus there’s a whole new world out there to explore. Eventually pulling up to see things on the couch or table and finally taking that first fateful step on their own. One foot catching the fall then the other foot to follow. Turning a clumsy fall, catch, fall, catch, into a step, step. This is obviously a condensed version of a very magical thing to witness. But the whole process can be applied to everything in life.
When we start a new journey, learn a new skill, try a new challenge we’re essentially following this same general progression. Let’s say as an adult I want to learn how to speak Spanish. Outside of my 4 years in high school from which I remember almost nothing it would be a fresh start. The process would most likely look like this. Take a class and or buy an at home program and stumble through the first lesson and continue to do so for about 3-4 months (lying on the ground phase). Eventually I would start to become competent in the basics bearing the fact I stick with the program. From there I would “start to crawl”, maybe putting basic sentences together and let’s say this takes another 6 months or so. Finally I would “take my first step” and become generally competent to hold a basic conversation in another language. I honestly have no idea how long it takes to learn another language, I apologize if this is wildly off track time wise but you get the idea here.
We can also apply this principle to fitness as well. Variables such as level of sedentariness (it’s a word I had to look it up to check), athletic background and overall motivation play into the success rates here. The crux behind this post is when it comes to injury, bouncing back and making forward progress. Keeping with our crawl to walk analogy, sometimes babies fall. These are expected and generally accepted parts of learning to walk. When it comes to fitness, sport and overall healthy lifestyles. It’s human nature to want to push ourselves and reach new heights. Sometimes we falter, just like a baby we fall. This could be a missed box jump and shin scrape, a torn hand on pull ups or a quad strain from running. Does this mean we should never exercise again? Absolutely not. It means that getting back to where we are requires baby steps. There are no large leaps to where we once were. It takes time and patience to build back physically and mentally to reach our past position. Take into account an illness. We’ve all had that first day back after a bad cold. It feels like you’ve never worked out before. For most, it’s a huge hurdle and can be a detriment to your training if you let it get to you. Let yourself mentally realize that “baby steps” are okay and really the natural way to achieve progress.