I remember being in the Ultraman World Championships in 2013 and trying to finish the double marathon on day three. My piriformis muscle had cramped and seized up, choking off my sciatic nerve and I was hobbling with a limp. I wasn’t moving very fast in the 30 plus degree heat but my buddy Lyle just kept saying, “Forward is a pace.” He was totally correct.
I think of that often when working with people and in my own goals to return to competing in triathlon after my crash. Forward is a pace. It just means keep moving forward no matter what.
Sometimes things are hard, busy, unclear, complicated, irritating, difficult, aggravating or downright ignorant. Just keep moving. Forward is a pace. Eventually you make it. If you never, ever give up, and you keep learning, changing, growing, adapting, you will win. Every time.
I am currently working with a group of people in a six week fitness challenge, and the first week is always so much fun! People get spectacular results, feel amazing, drop fat, gain muscle, change their lives, and then week two is when it gets interesting. Life starts to get in the way. Work gets busy, kids need you, a cold or flu hits, you are tired, it snows outside and so on. Keep moving.
What if you are eating well, exercising as you should, getting enough rest and drinking enough water, but you wanted to drop three pounds a week, and only dropped one or two? Forward is a pace. One pound a week is 52 pounds gone in a year. See? It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood result to matter. Every little bit of progress is a step towards success.
When my physio was trying to get my frozen shoulder to let go and I was enduring super painful treatments each week I knew we were getting somewhere but it was frustrating. Every five or six weeks he would measure my progress and it was undeniable: five degrees improvement, three degrees, 10 degrees, and after well over a year, I could lift my arm all the way over my head.
That’s the thing. You have to hang in there for the payoff, and most people don’t. Most people stop when it gets hard, or slows down. I cannot begin to tell you how many people I have seen that have a shoulder or knee or other joint that doesn’t work well and when I ask if they sought help from a physio or therapist of some kind I get the same answer, “Yah, I tried that for a while but I gave up.” Don’t get me wrong, some therapists are better than others, but the good ones genuinely want to help you get better if you will just hang in there.
When it comes to fitness, the human body doesn’t respond all that fast to change, so if you want to see a result, you need to be patient. You really need to embrace “forward is a pace” and just stay steady. Sure, teenagers and younger people will see results faster, that’s true, but nobody changes instantly. It is a steady, determined, consistent effort that yields the best result.
What I also like about ” forward is a pace” is it gives us permission to focus on any level of progress, because sometimes it feels like there isn’t any. Sometimes we have to really look to see anything that is getting better. Sometimes things get worse and then we have to make a correction and find or create something that is moving forward. If five things go dead sideways and everything feels like it is piling up and getting you down, find one thing that will get you to your goal and focus on that.
Because here is the other thing about this philosophy: In life, we get what we focus on. Period. So if you focus on what is not working, why it is not working, how it is not working, what you don’t like about it and all of that, you are stuck. If you can just shift your focus on, or create something, that is working and pulling you forward and improving your situation, then you will begin to move away from whatever is dragging you down.
Identify the problem, get clear on the goal, find a way to move forward. Forward is a pace.
You will eventually get where you want to be.