Monday, June 25, 2012

Change vs. Maintain

It dawned on me today, I'm the only person left still going to Crossfit from my company.  First, a little background is needed.  As documented in my previous blog, I worked hard to lose weight and get in better shape.  In doing so, people around me became very interested in what I was doing... and in many cases, became inspired.  This led to, at one point, 8 people from my immediate circle of family, friends and co-workers, to try Crossfit.  They in turn spawned another 10 or so to try it as well.  Some became paying members of Crossfit 540.  Others ventured out on their own, creating a similar program on a budget.  While still others figured out quickly it was not for them.

Many of them lost weight, ate better, and came to be in the best shape of their lives.  A few stuck with it for a very long time.  But as of today, I believe I am the last standing "Crossfit crazy" from the ~ 20 people I directly or indirectly inspired.  When I realized it today, two thoughts immediately crossed my mind.  First, I was a little sad of this fact because some have reverted back to old habits (note: others have just changed programs).  Second, it dawned on me I've had limited success at recruiting new people, despite a similar level of effort and advocacy.

The result of the epiphany is this blog.  Change vs. Maintain.

People react to change more than maintain.  People aren't nearly as impressed at someone who can maintain a high level of health, performance, etc. as someone who can change their lives to improve it.  It is true.  The is no show named "The Biggest Maintainer".  Though I would submit, maintaining is twice as hard as the change.

Don't get me wrong.  The initial change is excruciating.  This is why so many people never do it.  It is an acute pain over the course of a few weeks as your body and mind adjust to a new way of doing things.  Once the progress really starts, it becomes surprisingly easy to keep trucking toward the goal.  It can be frustrating, but the habits are newly formed, you are inspired by others noticing the improvement.  In short, the attention it generates keeps you going.  You eat perfectly, you work out hard, and you live clean.  People also gravitate to your success.  They want some of what you have, the lighting in the bottle as it were.  It was during my change when I generated so many new clients.

Then you reach your goal and it is time to maintain.  Whoever said you are always either moving forward or backwards in life was correct.  I was able to maintain for about 6 months, when in practice I was still improving.  Oddly, people were still curious about what I did, but not inspired.  I have been 0 for 10 of recruits since reaching my goal.

What is worse about maintain, is life catches you asleep.  The mental edge leaves.  Personally, I no longer have the mental desire to live "perfectly" everyday.  Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope.  It leads quickly to rationalizations and justifications.  In short, it leads to small slips that eventually become medium slips, which turn into habits.  I have personally found maintaining much harder than changing.  I'm waiting for the moment when I realize I no longer need to maintain... but indeed actually change again.  This is the moment I will move forward again instead of backwards.  My struggle is wrought with injury, poor eating habits, slower times, lighter weights, and less desire in general.  It sucks and it is difficult to break lose from each and every day.  So I guess, I'm not really that different from the 20 others I inspired except I'm too damned stubborn to stop Crossfitting.

I guess the best thing to do is take a long view again and determine my goal for my 43rd birthday and hit it.  Maybe during that time, I can recruit some new people again.