That is the amount of time that I have wanted to get a pull up. Ever since the first grade when we had to do the presidential fitness tests and pull ups were a part of the test. And it took me 28 years to make this happen.
Somehow I always ended up in the same class as the girl who set the record every year (Kate Brown – I still remember). And it seemed simple – just pull yourself up. Every time the tests came around I felt dread, anxiety, jealousy, some anger, and mostly a deep rooted feeling that I wanted to do a pull up SO BADLY.
Wanting to do a pull up never went away in my life. For the next 11 years I was faced with pull ups as part of that test. As a college student and an adult it was still in my mind and every time I saw someone do pull ups – I was jealous.
What a badass move. To be able to just pull yourself up.
It truly seems that simple. But it seemed so hard. And I wanted it so badly.
Ever since I was 14, I have been lifting weights, been in the weight room, been training and YET STILL the pull ups have eluded me.
Then about 4 years ago I started ninja and obstacle training. STILL the pull up eluded me.
I was getting more frustrated as time went on with my inability to do a pull up because of many reasons.
- I could do lots of cool ninja things, but no pull up.
- “You’re so strong” people told me. “How are you not able to do a pull up?”
- I have been hanging on stuff and working on obstacles for almost 8 years and STILL NO PULL UP
- I even have a (half joking, half serious) friendship agreement with a friend and in our agreement it states that I have to get a pull up
Two months ago we started going to the Minneapolis Bouldering Project which is like rock climbing but without a harness and you don’t go up as high. It’s all grip, strategy, and being able to hold yourself up and move up a wall.
Consistently we went once a week and worked for hours on climbing. It was fun, challenging, and I really liked it. Also – the bouldering gym is super inspirational. Just being in there makes me feel incredible. People there are so strong, there are a million and one different body types, and MANY people just pull themselves up and do constant pull ups.
I have been able to eek out a pull up every now and then for the last year or so. But nothing consistent and for sure not more than one at a time.
Last Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 I did two pull ups in a row during ninja class warm up. This surprised me.
To make sure it wasn’t a fluke, I did it four more times during class. Sets of two consecutive pull ups.
Then on Saturday I did it again. This time I almost got 3 in a row.
I just met a 28 year goal.
This made my head spin for so many reasons. The keys to meeting this goal?
- I stopped obsessing over NOT being able to do it.
- I added in one more element of training that made all the difference
- I stopped worrying about WHEN it would happen.
Would you work on a goal for 28 years? It made me think of this quote below. I found it attributed to Bill Gates but it’s been said by many.
“Most people overestimate what they can get done in one year and underestimate what they can get done in ten.”
I’m still laughing when I think about the other day and how I just hopped up onto the bar and did pull ups. Shocking myself and others.
The physical difference – bouldering once a week improved my grip strength in a different way than ninja. I had the strength to do pull ups but was lacking a grip strength to make it happen. One small (but significant element).
And patience. Who wants to wait 28 years to do pull ups? Or any goal? Do you?? Would you?
The mental difference? Letting go of WHEN. This can be so critical for goals and why I struggle to set time sensitive goals. Because what if it doesn’t happen by a certain date? Do you just stop working on it? Many of us do. If that was the case I would have given up on it in first grade.
WANTING. I hope you caught this word in the beginning of the blog. I wanted a pull up BADLY but up until I started ninja training I would say I did nothing to actually train myself to get a pull up. I assumed and wanted to assume that general strength training would just magically make me able to do a pull up. NOPE.
We all WANT many things in life (myself included). But ask yourself if you have a plan, if you want to work for it, and if you have the patience to wait 28 years. Because the reality of that can suck. We want our goals NOW.
This doesn’t just apply to fitness goals. It applies to:
- Jobs/Career goals – you probably won’t achieve everything in your goal list in 1 year, or 2 or 3
- Financial – getting out of debt, buying big items, saving for retirement, going on a big trip
- Relationships – will your relationships improve without work? Just magic?
- Self – how about your relationship with yourself? Are you going to one day wake up and love yourself?
We WANT a lot out of life. But if you’re honest, how hard are you working towards them or taking a pivot and trying a new training plan? How long will you put in the day after day work without “meeting the goal?”
This blog could go on and on about goals (and it will in more parts) but the biggest takeaway for me is that yes, I need to have a plan but I also need to relax a little bit about making things happen TODAY or tomorrow.
Consistent effort, day after day, with pivots as needed, will result in meeting your goals.
EMAIL ME and tell me about goals you have wanted to me – I want to know!
LISTEN TO EPISODE 123 HERE (all about these pull ups)