Always Have a Project
Wanting to keep improving means always having a project that you are working on. In the context of improving my physical health, I now always have a few projects I am working on. Having these projects helps focus my improvement activities and helps keep my positive as I notice myself improving in those areas.
Working on increasing the mobility of the tissues in my upper left arm is one of my projects. I can feel that when I raise my left arm straight up, my shoulder sometimes pops and I feel the left scapular muscles on stretch or sticking. It is quite different from how the same motion consistently feels on the right side. To work on it, I have been mobilizing the tissues in the area and trying to think about daily habits that might be contributing to the tightness. I have not been doing as much strengthening as I should. If my triceps were in better shape, I think it would help the situation a lot.
Another project is my left hip. My left hip joint harbors some pain when I touch the joint capsule. I have been working on trigger points in my IT band and gluteus medius. Also, I am focusing on activating my gluteus medius to keep my hip in better positions. Recently, Andrea helped me loosen up my IT band considerably by attacking some trigger points in it, and I noticed I am getting less medial pain in my knee while biking even while increasing intensity.
The other project I am working on is getting a six-pack. I know what you are thinking, "how cliché". But I feel like having strong core muscles and a lean body is an important general indicator of health and seeing my muscles starting to grow out of nowhere when I look in the mirror is a great feeling. Spousal compliments in this area also reinforce and encourage. For this, I am trying to do planks somewhat regularly and I am bicycling to work almost every day for roughly 50 miles of cycling a week. By making sure to engage my core muscles while cycling, I think it is slowly helping build these muscles.
These are just my current top-of-my-mind projects on body health. If one of them starts to get completed or stops improving quickly, I might switch over to another goal, or seek outside help to help improve. I think it is important to have some focus. Having just a few goals to work on lets you assess your situation and progress better. It also lets you pay attention to the small factors that might be affecting these particular projects.
Another reason to have projects is that if you do not, what will you work on? Being aimless in your health or other life goals is a sure way to look back and feel like you wasted your time. They say when people retire if they have a hobby or friends to hang out with they will live for a lot longer. I think this same concept applies in a less extreme way to all of the various aspects of your life. If you do not have a project in that area of your life, that area is probably slowly dying.
Maybe a project you focus on does not work out, but at least you worked on it. I feel much better knowing I put effort into trying to improve, than I do from looking back at places in my life where I did not try. More often, you will find the focus will cause you to improve significantly in the areas you are focusing on.
What projects are you working on? Do you have a set of projects in different areas of your life? These projects are my projects in the area of musculoskeletal health. I have other projects in other areas of my life. What areas are you trying to constantly improve in?