Everything in life is like building a ramp.
We’re either building upward, standing still, or sliding down.
Sometimes we’re gaining momentum and building pretty fast. Sometimes we’re going really slow and barely seeing progress. Other times, we’re literally tumbling down toward the bottom of the abyss and we have no idea when the plummet is going to stop.
Goals as Destinations
Imagine every experience in life as building a ramp toward some ultimate possibility or goal.
Let’s say the goal is to be able to deadlift 100 pounds. Or it could be to publish a book. Heck, it might be something like taking a shower every day.
All of these “goals” are a possible destination, a point in time where we are able to do or accomplish something we’ve set our mind toward. Think of it like a particular height of a ramp.
If we want to be able to stand 100 feet high but haven’t started building the ramp, it’s pretty obvious that we’re not just going to be able to get to that peak point yet. The work hasn’t yet been put in to build up to that height. Once we have it built, though, it’ll be easy to go from 0 to 100 feet in pretty much no time.
Wherever we’re starting from, we have to scaffold our way up. Build one inch at a time. Generally, take it slow, at least at first.
We Have to Start Somewhere
If we’ve never lifted a weight in our life, we haven’t really started building the ramp for weight lifting yet. If we’re struggling with daily self-care and we haven’t yet established a routine, we might only have the mere foundations of a self-empowerment ramp.
We have to begin somewhere.
Beginning the process of building a ramp is as unique as the person setting the end goal. Deadlifting 100 pounds might be a quick-to-reach goal for someone with a naturally strong muscular build, but they still have to start from whatever their natural bottom is. Maybe they can comfortably lift 17-pound weights without any practice.
For a person like me with flimsy arms on the best of days, I would likely need to begin with 5lb weights and slowly build my way towards 10, 15, 20, and so on.
We want to be sure before we set out to build a particular ramp that 1) we have the means to build it; 2) we actually WANT to build it; and 3) that we’re not setting ourselves up for failure by expecting something unrealistic.
- The average deadlift for a beginner cis female lifter is 84 pounds. I could therefore reasonably expect if I worked at it, it’d be reasonable for me to build enough skill and strength to deadlift 100lbs. I also have a gym membership, so I do have the means to work on this skill if I chose.
- Do I really want to build that ramp? Eh. It could be cool, but honestly it’s not my biggest goal in life right now so I’m probably not actually going to tackle this example goal right away. 😉
- I did a bit of research and found out the stats for deadlift standards in about 5 minutes, and that initial goal I randomly set of 100 pounds is doable for an average weightlifting athlete. I’m not an athlete by any means, so I would need to expect it’s going to take me longer than the average gymgoer to get to even the initial 84lb average. So, I’m going to want to be sure I’m building this ramp in a sustainable way for me.
Once we know we have the means and desire to build a ramp, we just have to make a blueprint. Planning towards our goals is very important. We want to be detailed in the when, where, how, and for how long we plan to do things. We want to address the smallest steps possible. Then, we need to actually put in the work.
When we reach our goal, no matter how long the ramp took for us to build, there are a few things that remain true.
We can slide back down the ramp pretty much any time, for any reason.
We can choose to go back down a ways and sit down at a lower part of our ramp at any time, for any reason.
We don’t have to keep building our ramp, but we can if we chose to.
We can always take a break to just appreciate how much ramp we’ve already built.
If we slip and slide down the ramp, it’s generally easier to get back to where we were before unless a disaster occured and part of the ramp was destroyed. But, even a destroyed ramp can be rebuilt if we’re willing to adapt.
Beyond each end point or goal there may still be a future possibility. A higher height to climb. Why not deadlift 150 or even 200 pounds? Why not publish a second book? Anything might seem possible when we’ve built a ramp high enough to see a new horizon.
So when times get tough, remember you’ve only come as far as you’ve come and built as high as you’ve built. At any time, you can chose to stop what you’re doing and start something new, take a break, or plow on ahead.
Every ramp for every goal is going to be different with a unique starting and finishing point. Don’t compare yourself to others and what they’ve managed to build in their lives. Inspiration is okay, but expecting the same thing as anyone other than yourself is a quick path to resentment, burnout, and wanting to give up.
Your life is your own, so build the ramps you’re excited about. The ones that you’re a HECK YES to. That makes a huge difference!
This month, I’m doing my best to write a blog post every day for the #UltimateBlogChallenge (Check it out at https://ultimateblogchallenge.com/).
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