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Miki Tips: Finding Your Why

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Finding Your “Why”

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you probably know that Mat Fraser won the CrossFit Games for the second year in a row. His performance was spectacularly dominant, beating out his closest competitor by more than 200 points. In fact, he was so far ahead that when it came to the final event, he could have simply completed the minimum work requirement and then sat down to watch the other athletes finish. But Mat didn’t do that. Instead, like the true competitor he is, he threw himself fully into the final test.

My favorite moment all weekend was when he paused for a moment – just before starting the final 89 feet of overhead walking lunges – to look up, take in the sea of spectators cheering him on, and smile in appreciation of the moment. During his post-win interview, when asked what motivates him, he responded, “It’s not something I really struggle with, the motivation. I like competing, and I always try to better myself, and this (gesturing to the crowd) is the feeling that I train for everyday. This is what I train for.”

Mat is seriously dialed in to his “why”

When it comes to achieving your goals, how many of us take the time to truly understand why we are setting them? If you don’t really know why you are doing something, it becomes easy to let negative thoughts get you down when the going gets tough. If you truly want to pursue something – whether in fitness or in life – and sustain it over the long haul, you’re going to need to understand your “why.”

For me, finding my true “why” took time. I didn’t know I liked competing until I started doing CrossFit. So I thought my “why” was about winning. But in the early days, I was dead last in the WOD…Every. Single. Day. In the beginning it was easy to let that go, because I was new in the sport. But as I got better at the movements, and my fitness improved, and I still wasn’t “winning”…well, I felt like a failure. While that did motivate me to work harder, to push and to practice, I would still find myself at the end of the day feeling somehow like I had lost.

This cycle continued until one day I realized that I didn’t want to waste any more time feeling bad abut myself! I realized that I was making strides – some small, some bigger – every single day. I took the time to think about why I loved CrossFit and what I was hoping to gain from doing it, and realized that my “why” ran way deeper than simply winning. My “why” has to do with falling in love with the daily process of doing the work, day in, day out, regardless of the result. It does something for me that makes me a better, happier human. And besides, what’s the benefit of having a passion if you’re going to suck all the fun out of it?

This “why” helps me keep perspective when I don’t win – which is a lot of the time! – as well as when I do. Don’t get me wrong. I love winning. But I’ve learned to recognize that those wins come in all shapes and sizes. At the end of the day, if I come in to train and give it 100% of my attention and effort…that’s a win in my book, whether I PR that back squat or not.

So…what’s your “why”? Take the time to really think about it. There’s no right or wrong answer, only what’s right for you. Make sure it’s something that motivates you from the inside, rather than being motivated by external results, such as hitting a certain weight on the scale or PRing your lifts, because that kind of satisfaction disappears faster than you know it. Find the thing that gets you up every day, ready to work toward your goals. Write it down. Share it if you want to, and know that you’ve got a community of people at CrossFit Dark Horse to support and cheer you on – one small win at a time.

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