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A Reliable Pattern For Growth

It is the beginning of a new year, which means it is a time when a lot of people set new year’s resolutions, evaluate old goals and set new ones, and pursue change in their lives. This is a good thing to do. A lot of folks enjoy having a set aside date to begin a new life pattern, and the beginning of a new year makes perfect sense.

How do we successfully change?

In terms of growth and change, everyone must be active in the process of change. We cannot seek to accomplish our goals without putting forth well-directed effort, consistency, and time.

I’d like to outline a pattern that helps produce change. If you are frustrated, disheartened, or feel like giving up because you aren’t seeing the change you want to see in your life, this will be hugely valuable. Most often, when we don’t experience the growth and change we long to see it is because we are faulty in the way we think about change and the process of change.

This pattern can be simplified into an acronym: V.I.M.

The V stands for vision. The I stands for Intention. And the M stands for Methods. If we want to keep our resolutions and accomplish the change we desire, we must have the correct Vision, Intention, and Methods. When we fail to change successfully, it is because we did not have a compelling or clear enough vision, or we weren’t settled on our intention, or we didn’t have strong methods to help change. So, we are going to investigate this pattern, the Vision, Intention, and Method pattern.

Vision is unforced desire. It is a way of seeing things. Vision is what compels us to take action. It is what motivates us and drives us to pursue something, or to move forward on a project, goal, or resolution. All action is guided by a vision. If we don’t have a strong enough vision, we won’t take action. If we have a misguided vision, we will take misguided action. Vision can be thought of as the “why” we do what we do.

We can see people’s personal visions. This upcoming weekend we will celebrate Martin Luther King Junior and the Civil Rights movement in America. King was a man with a vision. What was his vision?

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

That is vision. The Civil Rights movement which has led to drastic steps towards equality in our country came about through a compelling and stirring vision.

Or, for example, how many of you are reading this on an iPhone? Perhaps you can screen shot this quote from Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple:

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.

Without a strong vision, we don’t take action. With a misguided vision, we take misguided action. We need to be sure our visions are strong.

So, if I want to learn to speak French, I will need a vision that will compel me to learn French. What would be a strong vision for me to learn French? Going to France for a three-day weekend doesn’t seem like something I need to learn French for. However, if I were going to move to France and live there for three years that seems like a good reason to learn the language.

Intention is simply to choose something. It is to decide to do something. Also, to not do something is still a decision. If we ever want to make progress or produce change, or accomplish a goal, or keep a resolution we have to choose to do so. It will not happen by accident. It will not simply be given to us. It must be a decision. Truthfully, it must be a lot of decisions. We do not change ourselves, or change history by accident. It requires a tangible choice to do so.

Let’s go back to our example of learning French. Do I accidentally learn French? Do I drift into studying a new language? Will I ever wake up and understand French and know how to conjugate verbs and know the vocabulary terms? Of course not. I must decide to learn French. I must purposefully take action.

Alright, means are simply the actions we take to produce the growth and change we wish to see. Again, I cannot will myself to speak French. I can’t blow out candles on a birthday cake and by magic, know how to speak French. I must take specific steps towards learning to speak French, and I must take steps to removing obstacles that keep me from speaking French. Some methods of learning French include Rosetta Stone, enrolling in a French class, hiring a French tutor, writing out vocabulary terms on index cards, write to a pen-pal in French, watch French movies and so on.

Methods can be thought of as disciplines. Being a disciplined person means we are able to do what we need to do when we need to do it. When we practice a discipline, we’re simply practicing an activity, something we can do, to help us learn to do something we can’t do.

If I fail to learn French it is because of one of three things:

· I didn’t have a strong enough vision, or my vision wasn’t accurate. Maybe I didn’t think learning French was that important, or that I assumed everyone in France would speak fluent English and therefore it wouldn’t be a big deal.
· I never actually chose to learn French. I made a hundred different decisions and none of them involved learning French. Instead of studying I did anything else. I wote this blog or watched Netflix; which indicates I never really decided to learn French.
· I didn’t use the right methods to learn. Perhaps instead of enrolling in a French class I enrolled in geology. Or instead of studying flash cards with vocabulary terms I scrolled through a French person’s Instagram.
So how can we apply this Vision, Intention, and Methods process to an aspect of health and fitness. After all, this is a CrossFit gym’s blog! In order for us to be consistent and productive with our health and fitness, we must have a compelling vision that will motivate us to work out and monitor how we eat. Most us are not CrossFit games-level athletes, or making our paychecks based on how well we do at competitions. Our visions fall in the realm of being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being winded, or being able to painlessly hold our grandchildren, and being able safely move boxes out of the garage. It can be centered on feeling confident in our apparel on our wedding day, or being able to take the family hiking in Colorado. Perhaps it merely to have the highest quality of physical health you can.

Whatever your vision is, it needs to be compelling enough to motivate you to take action on the days when it is 4 degrees, and the programmed workout is heavy thrusters and burpee’s over the bar.

If we desire to live into that vision, our intention is not the same as knowing the “right answer”. We would all agree that thruster’s and burpees would help increase our cardio vascular stamina, burn some calories, and build strength. However, knowing this and actually doing the workout are not the same. We must make the choice to show up to the gym 3-4 times a week. We must make the choice to do the work-out and achieve the desired intent of the workout.

Finally, the methods. Each group-class is a means of progress towards living into our vision. Furthermore, CFN offers nutrition consolation, personal training, goal-setting sessions, and a community of encouraging and supportive individuals. Taking it a step further. Every movement we do has a progression. If you want to get better at double-under’s, make sure your single under’s are rock-solid. From there, jump-rope drills and skill-building tools can be used. If we want to do a bar-muscle up, we start with ring-rows, move to kip-swings, to pull-ups and so on. If we want to squat snatch, we begin by ensuring we have proper shoulder mechanics and range of motion. Each movement has a variety of methods that can be used to grow our ability and proficiency.

Let’s make 2018 a year where each one of us is moving towards becoming our healthiest, happiest and best selves. That’s a vision worth intending and pursuing.

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