I often think about the idea of the new normal. I used to think normal was some form of static position. Then I realized that as we progress in this journey our understanding and definition for what is normal is constantly adjusting. I had the opportunity to talk about this with a friend that is a serious CrossFitter. We were talking about his first WoD years ago. He thought he was going to die, and had some serious doubts as to whether he could drive himself home after the workout. His normal at that time said this level of effort isn’t possible. His normal said he might have pushed himself too far, and this might just be what it feels like right before you die. His version of normal was about to be reset.
Five years later his version of normal, the new normal, is quite different. He now breezes through WoD’s that would have left him on the floor a few years ago. Incrementally, little by little, his normal changed. As he pushed himself he realized he won’t die, he might pass out or puke, but he won’t die. And most importantly he will adapt, and normal will be reset yet again. Here’s the cool thing, this resetting of what he viewed, and accepted as normal in his pursuit of fitness caused him to change his view of what he was willing to accept as normal in other areas of his life.
This applies to everything we do. How often do we feel like a stranger in a strange land? If not very often, then that’s a subject for another day my friend because we all need to be pushing ourselves. How many of us remember our first day on the mat? Getting smashed, smothered, feeling like we were dropped into the deep end of a pool full of sharks. None of this stuff was normal, and we entertained thoughts of quitting until suddenly one day it was the new normal. One day being in that pool with those sharks was just another normal day.
Here’s the lesson we take from these experiences; look forward to those times of discomfort, of feeling like things are not normal, we are out of our depth, and that this effort might be more than we can sustain. Whether it’s a calorie restriction, or a new sprint training program, whatever it is dig into that feeling of being out of our element knowing that in just a little while we will reset, and this will be the new normal.
Little by little, day after month after year we keep adjusting, and resetting our normal until one day we don’t even remember what it was like to be what most folks call normal. This is our new normal.