What keeps you coming back?

Few things in life make me smile this much. Doing something I've worked for definitely does it. 

Few things in life make me smile this much. Doing something I've worked for definitely does it. 

I was warming up the other day at the box (That’s CrossFit speak for ‘the gym’) with a younger member and I asked him if he was doing the Open. Yes, he said, his first time. I asked if he’d been able to Rx (do the workouts as prescribed, without scaling the weight or movements) both workouts so far and he said yes. He’s only been doing Crossfit for 9 months. I told him it was amazing he could Rx already and that after 3+ years I still couldn’t Rx many things. He asked me, “What keeps you coming back?” I said, well, I’m an older athlete and it’s possible I may never be able to do certain things. But I can always get better and I can always get stronger. That’s what keeps me coming back.

Now, let’s take a step back for a second. His question shows his age and naiveté. And I don’t in any way mean that with disrespect. In his mind, why would I do something I can’t do “as prescribed”? To him it seems like a waste or at the very least disheartening. Why would you keep coming back if you aren’t able to do these things that most CrossFitters covet? And to be fair, it’s not like that doesn’t bother me sometimes.

I do put a clock on my abilities and have many times been known to say stupid shit like, “I should have X by now.” What makes that statement ignorant is according to who? Who says I should be able to do anything in a certain timeframe? I am me. Not anyone else. And I might work on something for years and never get it, or I might work on something for weeks and find it comes easily to me. This endless comparison rabbit hole we go down is good for nothing and no one.

This statement really hit me as I completed 17.3. I did the workout scaled, as the idea of that many Chest to Bar pull-ups on my recovering shoulder just didn’t seem very smart. I decided I was better off with lots of lighter snatches and hoped I could crack some of the heavy ones as well. I wanted to get to the 2nd to last round, which was 95lbs.

Pictured at 65lbs, but I swear I did 95. 

Pictured at 65lbs, but I swear I did 95. 

Now, I’ve maybe snatched three times in the last 5 months due to injury and I had no idea what my shoulder was going to be capable of. But I really wanted that 95lb snatch. It’s likely it matches a PR from many years ago, but I honestly have no idea. Anyway, I left myself plenty of time on the clock to get even one. I think I had almost 7 minutes. I tried and failed. Then I tried and failed again. I was close! I knew I could get it, the question was, would I? After about 6 attempts, maybe more, I nailed it. I whooped and was so excited! This is why I come back! That feeling of nailing a lift is euphoric. It’s almost better than sex. Almost. :) 

So I got one. Why not go for two? Got that one as well. I couldn’t contain myself. I had just enough time to get another round of pull-ups and get back for one more try, but after one more attempt it was clear my body was done.

I couldn’t have been happier to not finish a workout. I was so proud and so excited. It’s moments like that that keep me coming back.

So ask yourself, what keeps you coming back? It doesn’t even need to be about fitness. What keeps you coming back to your job, your partner, your hobby? Can you define the very things that motivate you to keep doing what you’re doing? Because if you aren’t excited and you aren’t motivated, how can you expect to be happy? How can you keep coming back?

I think about my career. I left corporate marketing because I was forced out of creativity and into a managerial role. I hated it. I wanted to write. I wanted to create. So I started freelancing. Was it scary? Hell yeah. I had no idea if I could make enough money to sustain my family. But I had nothing compelling me to come back to an office. What kept me freelancing was that I could come back to something I loved. The chance to keep trying new things. To learn new platforms, create for new clients. Every day I was motivated. And I still am.

I LOVE what I do. My freedom and flexibility. I have created this life for myself. And yes, I could make a lot more money if I was a Creative Director or Marketing Director at a large company. Would I love what I did? It’s possible. But I also would be working 10-12 hour days for someone else. In an office. I couldn’t get my hair done in the middle of the day or see my son when he comes home from school. I definitely couldn’t CrossFit at 9am like I do most days. My life wouldn’t be my own. It would be someone else’s. And that would NOT keep me coming back.

So ask yourself, what keeps you coming back? What gets your blood pumping and makes you excited to get out of bed everyday? Figure that out and your life will get exponentially better, I promise. Please share in the comments below. I’d love to hear your motivation and your why.