SMALL WINS: MAKING A HABIT OF PROGRESS

yoga_emilyjbenton

I’ve just sat down at my laptop and taken the most ENORMOUS breath ever. So now I feel like an esteemed author sitting down to write the first page of a novel. Obviously, this will be no such mean feat, but for the first time in months I’m writing more than a blessed email. So actually, pat on the back for me. Small win.

“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win” – Jonathan Kozol.

I’ve come to the belief that good habits begin with these little victories. Don’t get me wrong, dream big. You’ve got to. But everyday success surely exists within these pat-on-the-back worthy moments. So far this year, I’ve been putting far too much pressure on myself to achieve (namely fitness) goals, which quite frankly, in amongst moving 200 miles from home, making new friends, breaking bones, moving house AGAIN, adjusting to an entirely new job and frequently travelling, have been truly ludicrous. I can hold my hands up and say that I’ve fallen head over heels into the trap of social media, copying workouts and meal preps, loosely tracking macros again; constantly comparing my own fitness journey to other people’s because I haven’t felt like I’ve had the time to step back and assess my own. That is so against everything I believe. And I’ve been prioritising something different every single day, which has been putting far too much pressure on myself to achieve the unachievable. NO MORE. So, my goal right now is simply, progress. Little victories.


Looking back on my training the past six months is a total mind warp. Since I broke my arm in December I’ve barely trained upper body; with ‘barely’ being rather generous. I haven’t even entertained the idea. As a result, my big compound lifts have suffered big time and the weights my legs and glutes can cope with are unfortunately no match for my now tiny cyclist arms, or my back. My love of lifting weights and cycling will always be somewhat oxymoronic. However, the demon perfectionist within me has recently come to terms with the fact that the two fitness disciplines I love are effectively binary opposites. It might mean that in the weights room my cardiovascular ability is more than that of a typical body builder and on wheels, perhaps I can put some mean little digs in with those fast twitch muscle fibers I’ve nurtured. But I will never become a master at hypertrophy, nor at riding my bike. That is a compromise I’m willing to make.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to eat a more varied diet. I think it’s safe to say we all get into the habit of ‘convenient food’ in the kitchen and to be fair to myself, I have been and still am making a conscious effort to broaden the horizons of my plate. But in the hope of regaining some control over my diet again, a couple of months ago I gave up my infamous sweet tooth for lent and reached for the *comforting* arms of MyFitnessPal. Once again, I reverted to what I’ve now deemed ‘convenient food’ to hit my macros each day. Don’t get me wrong, I think counting macros is educational, rewarding and above all, admirable. It takes tremendous discipline. And yeah, it’s all great having abs. But right now, for me, it’s not sustainable. So, I’ve deleted MFP, started listening to my body and have bought a sh*t-tonne of cookery books. I’m trusting what I’ve learnt about macros and portions over the past few years and eating intuitively, with the mind that food is fuel. I’ve also given myself some time to do my own research into nutrition and *DRUMROLL* have decided to reduce the amount of dairy and meat in my diet. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to ever be completely veggie. But right now, I really am a big meat eater and I know I can lower my current intake and do my bit for this planet. My housemate and many of my friends are veggie, and my boyfriend is lacto-free. So I’m looking to them to help me be creative.

I’m also desperate to refocus my inner yogi and find some of my mobility again, as well as get back in touch with the other innumerable benefits of yoga. So, as this photo is evidence, I’m going to be taking advantage of the classes at Rapha. I’ve been reading the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, which is so complimentary to this *small win* concept in terms of discipline and value. I cannot recommend it enough – any friends who want to borrow, please holla my way. I also need to practice what I preach and revisit some of my previous posts on mindfulness. And finally, I want to give this creative space some TLC. I miss writing; and I miss taking my camera out with me. So, here begins a habit of progress; of little victories that can make a huge difference.

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