Small Victories

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Confident people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases their confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

Last month I stumbled upon an article on LinkedIn entitled “12 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently” by Dr. Travis Bradberry. I’m kind of a sucker for those types of articles, so I read it and was drawn to the above quote. The idea of seeking small victories stood out to me, because I believe that is a trait that can be honed in the gym.

Every time we walk through the door of our gym, we challenge ourselves, and many times during a workout, we compete with ourselves.  We always apply an amazing amount of effort, but sometimes the end of a workout seem so far away, and we get discouraged. Several weeks ago I did a long workout on a Competition Day, and I told myself I wouldn’t focus on getting to the end of the workout but rather on achieving small victories during the workout. Every time I completed 5 reps of a movement, I recognized my achievement and congratulated myself silently in my head. Each time I finished a movement entirely, I gave myself a huge mental pat on the back. This behavior kept my sights focused on small, manageable goals, and I was able to build confidence each time I achieved one. The victories kept piling up, and I felt like I could achieve anything.

Earlier this week, I did “Murph” and had a very different experience. I did not give myself any small goals to pursue and didn’t acknowledge any small victories during the workout. I felt miserable and beat down mentally and emotionally. I had little or no confidence in my abilities. Eventually, I finished the workout, with the help of Mark’s reminder to show heart when my skills fail, and it truly was an amazing experience that I will remember and appreciate. However, I think back on it and wonder what my state of mind would have been had I been more intentional about small victories.

Who we are in the gym is who we are in life, so I want to take advantage of every opportunity to better myself through my physical practice at the gym. The habit of pursuing and achieving small victories to build confidence in my workouts, is the same habit I can use to pursue and achieve small victories to build confidence in the things life throws at me. These can be simple things like my daily to-do list, or big things like my infinitely-long wedding planning to-do list. This tactic may not work for everyone, but I encourage you to at try it soon at the gym.

Thursday’s Workout

A) For quality load, working up across sets
Overhead squats

1250m Run
3min Rest
60 Air squats
2min Rest
40 Diagonal plate chops (20 Rt, 20 Lt)
1min Rest
20 Strict pullups

And Coming Friday

A) Pushup Carnival
Focus on external rotation

B) For quality load, working up across sets
5 Sets
5 Hang squat cleans + 1 Press

8 DB Renegade rows (35/20)
4 Burpee broad jumps




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