When you’re confronted with a challenge, it’s easy to feel defeated. Perhaps you’re not performing well during a workout and you want to give up. Perhaps you don’t have the energy to do normal daily activities and you feel useless. As athletes, getting upset with not performing at our peak is easy. We’re competitive by nature. But what if I told you it’s okay not to be great?

The motto “better than yesterday” can apply towards our performance in the gym, who we are as people, and the choices we make.

In the gym: You could be an advanced CrossFit veteran. You typically come in and do “level 3” workouts. All of a sudden, you come in one day and doing level 3 feels like you’re doing a Games-level WOD. You get frustrated, you feel weak, you feel like all of your progress is gone. The same could be said for someone newer to CrossFIt. You know you typically do level 1 workouts, but after a few weeks it seems like you’ll never graduate from there. You’re surrounded by more experienced athlete and you think, “I’ll never be able to do that”.

Who we are: Our mindset can greatly shape our potential. There are several studies suggesting that those with positive affect (or a positive outlook, mindset, and mood) have greatly reduced their experience with chronic pain. The same can be true for having positive affect when confronted with something that upset you. But let’s face it, it’s nearly impossible to feel and be positive all the time. In the face of adversity, it’s completely normal to feel sad, angry, or upset. However, how we respond to those emotions and what we do next can shape us.

The choices we make: It’s estimated that we are presented with over 35,000 choices in a day. Those choices can range from the shows we want to watch to the food we put on our plate. Sometimes, those choices can be hard and divisive. Choices that are difficult are usually rare, or not exercised thoroughly. A great way to develop confidence in those difficult choices like, “what food is going to fuel me best?” is to hire a coach.

Practicing the “better than yesterday” mindset is one way to ensure you’re giving yourself some grace while still striving to be a better you. Being better than yesterday means taking every day as a lesson, as an opportunity to grow. It doesn’t mean you’re physically stronger or faster, but that you allow yourself space to strengthen and grow in ways that aren’t numeric. Today you can be better than yesterday, and tomorrow you’ll be even better.