“Do you think I can actually get there?”
I receive this line of questioning all the time when talking about goals. More specifically when discussing goals relating to posture, mobility, and overall strength.
The simple answer is that I don’t know. Your success rate or whether you succeed at all depends heavily on many variables both in your control and out of your hands. What your goals are, your age and genetics, any injuries or pre-existing conditions, your time commitment and methodology employed, not to mention your community and environment, all contribute to your success.
Like so many aspects of fitness and life, the issue is not to find an answer to “can I actually get there?” or even “how do I get there?” The real solution is found in asking a more meaningful question.
I’ll counter with another question: Does it matter?
If I told you that you that you would never be able to do a middle split, would you throw up your hands and cease to ever work on your hip mobility? Possibly, but that is up to you.
All joking aside, worrying about whether you’ll do a perfect handstand or develop perfect posture is saying nothing of the vast improvements that you are capable of. To be fair, in some skills the concepts of “closer” or “better” are difficult to determine until your cross the achievement threshold. However, the progress (increased shoulder stability, core strength, and body awareness) have broader benefit than the actual handstand.
Better to Be Better Than Perfect
Trigger Warning: you (like me) are on a slow path toward frailty and eventual death.
The best you can do is be better than you were yesterday, last week, and last year. Better has nothing to do with the past. Better is forward-looking, yet not aimed at a specific end point. Better is objective yet personal and individually-determined.
You are constantly changing, whether you consciously make efforts to affect it or not. You are the way you are from how you’ve lived each day. Your current strength, mobility, skills, and posture are not inherent aspects of you but are resultant from your life.
The trends that brought you to your current state (whether you are content with it or not) will continue unless purposely altered. This is training; examining where you came from, seeing the direction you are headed, and consciously altering course.
The meaning of training is to affect change toward the state to you want. The shift in course is the meaning. The shift is the destination. Training is about taking the reins and working to be better, not about being a certain way.
- Can you achieve a handstand?
- Will you ever do a full split?
- Can you develop perfect posture?
- Can you actually get there?
I don’t know, but can you be better?