Blog CrossFit

Enjoy your achievements, especially the small ones – like jumping onto a box!

A post about how how I celebrate my achievements, even when they are small compared with other people’s performance.

At work I am often in roles where I get the chance to train people, for example running courses on things like story finding, scenario planning and more recently the use of AI via ChatGPT. In my non-work life I am a run leader and most weeks I get the opportunity to work with people to help them meet their running goals. One phenomenon I see all too often is people not recognizing and celebrating their achievements or successes.

Failing to recognise, celebrate, and enjoy your achievements is a missed opportunity. I am happy to recognise heroes’ great achievements—they build businesses, run at high speeds, or perform other impressive feats. But I also enjoy my successes, especially if they are breakthroughs, even if they are very small, especially in comparison to what others are doing.

I can give you a very recent example that left me buzzing with pleasure, even though my achievement meant I performed worse than everybody else in the room.

A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to improve my upper body strength and flexibility. In my recent long-distance Spine ultra, I found that my legs, heart, and lungs were fine, but my upper body strength and flexibility were not good enough. My daughter is a big fan of CrossFit, so that is the route I chose to help me work on reducing my weaknesses.

I am about eight weeks into my CrossFit journey and in most sessions, I am the least able person in the room. The others have all done CrossFit for longer and they are faster, stronger, and more coordinated. But, I can see some improvements in my performance, and one improvement in particular I want to share.

One of the pieces of equipment in the gym is a box. The box is shaped like a brick, 20 inches (51 cm) by 24 inches (61 cm) by 30 inches (76 cm). One of the regular exercises is to do two-footed jumps onto the box. The guys tend to jump onto the 30-inch height and women tend to jump onto the 24-inch height. However, many of the people in the gym make it harder by adding something on top of the box so they jump even higher (like in the stock photo above).

For the first three weeks of going to CrossFit I did not even try jumping onto the 20-inch box. I know I am not good at jumping, and I had a real fear of not landing on the box properly and falling backwards. So, the coaches put a platform down for me so that I was jumping less than 20 inches. After three weeks, after multiple jumps on a lower height, I summoned up the nerve to jump the 20 inches and made it. I was buzzed, I was delighted to have done something that scared me and which I thought might be beyond me. On that day, nobody else in the gym jumped onto a box as low as 20 inches – but that was not relevant to my achievement. I watched some of the others jump about 40 inches, and was very impressed – but it did not lessen my sense of achieving my breakthrough.

A couple of lessons later I was doing reps of 10 box jumps onto the 20-inch height, and with each rep it got easier (physically easier and emotionally easier).

Yesterday I had another breakthrough. In preparing my box to warm up for some reps with jumping, I turned the box by mistake onto the wrong face and it was 24 inches high. I looked at it and felt ‘I can do that’ and I gave it a go. I made the jump and did two more to make sure I had hit the breakthrough. Once again, I was really buzzed, because I had made a small breakthrough in the context of me. I flipped the box back to 20 inches for the reps as I was not ready to jump 24-inch reps – yet!

The Bigger Point
My message to you is to recognise your breakthroughs. Don’t judge them by what others do, be self-referential. Was that an achievement for you? And when you have a breakthrough, share it with others, and say thank you to anybody who helped you achieve it.

Thank You.
The gym I am going to is CrossFit Comet in Nottingham. First, a big thanks to the coaches, Dan, Lizzie and Tracey, who give me a disproportionate amount of their time. They recognise I need more help at this stage. Also, a big thank you to all the other members of the classes. People jumping 30 inches with extra height added make time to be supportive of me achieving my goals – which helps me enjoy my success.

And a thank you to my daughter Mish and her friends at CrossFit Four Kings at Wadebridge for introducing me to CrossFit.

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