two most dangerous words we use, and tyranny of “used to”
Two most dangerous words we use is “USED TO”.
I USED TO run a 5k in 25 minutes, I USED TO deadlift 300 pounds, I USED TO wear size 6 jeans, I USED TO weigh x pounds. Before I had kids, before I got sick, before my accident, before I got this job.
We talk about a place in the past wistfully, looking over the shoulder.
One of the biggest mindshifts I experienced (was forced to experience by injury and other setbacks) has to do with training – training every day with the body I have that day, not the body I used to have a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago. The weight on the bar does not matter.
You show up everyday with a mindset of curiosity instead, armed with knowledge and prior experience.
What do I know? I know how to deadlift. I also know that I deadlifted 100 pounds two days ago, and 300 pounds two years ago. So, let’s start at 100, and see how that feels. Whoa, that’s fucking heavy. I wonder if it’s because I didn’t sleep well last night. Come to think of it, my nutrition has been off also. Hmm… ok, I’ll need to dial that in today and tomorrow and see what impact it has. Meanwhile, let’s use 80 pounds instead of 100. Yep, that’s better.
Now… “I USED TO weigh x pounds ten years ago”, in itself may be a factual statement. But, that’s NOT what we actually hear in our head; instead…. We hear the implied: “I USED to weigh X pounds ten years ago, AND therefore, I SHOULD weigh x pounds today”. It’s where USED TO becomes a SHOULD.
The most effective weight loss in this case tends to be the loss of heavy heavy “SHOULD”. So much lighter!
You used to weigh 150 pounds. You used to race every weekend. You used to have a six pack, or a belly. You used to be thin, and now you are not. You used to be fat, and now you are not. You also used to be 18 years old. You used to… many things. That describes your past. That does not describe your present, OR your future. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just… a thing.
I USED TO use my past as a reference point. I don’t any more. There is no “SHOULD”.