Prioritizing Your Priorities
Written by: DCCF-er Phil Newton
You won’t make it very far in life without establishing some priorities. Some prioritization in life takes care of itself for you. Bills gotta get paid, so I better have a way to make money to pay them. I’ve got to survive, so I better eat, sleep, and breathe. But those priorities that life sorts for you very seldom contribute in a meaningful way to your happiness or your health. Here’s a few things I’d encourage you to consider when you evaluate your priorities you can control.
Know this before you venture further dear reader; THERE ARE NO JUDGEMENTS HERE. What you choose to make more important in regards to your fitness and your health are yours to make. Obviously, we all want the best for our friends and family here at Derby City, but we would never dream of regulating your life and impose our priorities upon you. (Although we may occasionally nudge you toward healthier habits out of pure love and genuine care.)
THE NUTRITION CONUNDRUM
There’s really no debate that eating a healthier diet comprised of whole foods, with high nutritional value is miles above eating processed foods that line the supermarket shelves. Everyone has different nutrition needs, but a healthier diet trumps an unhealthy one 100 times out of 100. It’s a fact. Now what I’m about to say is going to probably throw you off a bit, so perk up those ears.
IF YOU WANT TO EAT PROCESSED FOOD, THEN DO YOU BOO BOO.
Here’s the catch! If you prioritize the desire for an inefficient diet over your goals of fitness or health, then the higher priority will ALWAYS win. On the scale of life you can’t stack the deck to one side and expect it to balance out. Just won’t happen. If that’s what makes you happy, then your priorities are in line, and you’re doing well. If you find yourself upset with your stagnation in fitness and you aren’t making the effort to tip the balance of your priority toward better nutrition, I’m afraid you won’t ever find the results that you are after. So maybe your priority isn’t to eat 100% clean, and gosh damn it, you want to have a Hi-Five donut for breakfast every morning. I guarantee that if you allow yourself that concession and still try to improve your diet in ways that you can maintain and remain dedicated to, you will improve.
A diet that is 80% effective you can stick to 100% of the time is always going to be better than a 100% effective diet that you can only stick to 20% of the time. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll see results.
Will it be as much as someone who weighs and measures their food, and eats a more strict regimented diet? Absolutely not. But that’s their priority to sacrifice the sweets for the result, and their priorities are not yours.
SHARPENING YOUR SKILLS
Here is another area where priorities are important, but I think every single member of Derby City has been guilty of this lack of forethought at least once in their tenure as a CrossFitter. We all want to hit that big lift, or do that sexy gymnastic movement to post on the net and soak up all that sweet sweet internet adoration. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ll double tap that on Instagram all day long. There’s a conflict here however. In our pursuit of chasing down these goals and making the attainment of them our priority we lose focus on what should be most important. GETTING. BETTER. EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
Here’s a totally hypothetical situation that I’ve absolutely never seen in real life at the gym…
Athlete – “I want to get better at pullups.”
Coach – “Ok, glad to help! Here’s what we’ll do, let’s work on some progressions and build up that strength and get you some pullups!
Athlete – “Nope, I’m gonna go over here and kip on the bar for 45 minutes. SEE YA NERD.”
Eventually our imaginary athlete here may get pullups. But by prioritizing the end goal over the work that would get them there, they will never be as good at pullups as someone who did the very unsexy work of grinding through all those little movements to make the whole thing better.
ELIMINATE THE “BUT”
How many times have you heard, “That looks so fun, but…” or “I wish I could, but…” or the old standby, “Oh I always wanted to do X, but…”. The part that follows the but doesn’t ever matter, because just like everything that follows a butt, it is either hot air or shit. How many times have you said something similar yourself?
By making a statement like that you are effectively giving priority to the negative thing that is preventing you from grabbing life by the horns. Sure, life may not hand you an easy way to go, but if something is truly important to you, and you REALLY have the desire to do it, how are you gonna let a silly three letter word like “but” get between you and your dream?
I challenge you to drop your “Buts” and try from time to time to evaluate your priorities. Not only in the gym, but life in general. You want that Icelandic vacation next summer? Well, what will you need to shuffle to make that work? Less dinners out? Sell some old junk in the garage you don’t need any more?
You control your priorities. Make them make you better.