GPF: If Only, by Doug Chapman


Welcome to “Guest Post Friday”! I will be featuring stories and tips from people in the CrossFit Community who have solid input about the mental side of fitness, training and life. I tend to gravitate towards witty and honest posts that actually give you something to think about and improve.

Enjoy the post below written by Doug Chapman, unbelievable coach, and owner of CrossFit Ann Arbor.

If Only

If only I had more time. If only I had more money. If only you had class at 8:00 PM. If only it wasn’t so hard. If only I was stronger. If only I was more flexible. If only I didn’t have to work so much. If only I had studied harder. If only I was smarter. If only I could be luckier. If only my wife were more supportive. If only my husband would listen. If only I were in better shape. If only I my boss would promote me. If only I had a new job. If only the WOD was easier. If only I could do pull ups. If only I had a new car. If only…


If only my aunt had balls she would be my uncle.


If only followed by a limiting contingency statement is a way people blame something besides themselves for the situation they are in.  It maybe people are avoiding a shortcoming that they really do not want to put in the work to overcome. It is a way of framing a scenario with that has a contingency of your success being based on something other than you. It is easier for people to swallow their current situations and their unwillingness to change it if they create condition that will never happen. If the variable that is limiting people is framed as something they cannot control, then the lack of success if someone else’s fault. If is a method of blame shifting and un empowering ones self.


Examine your “If Only” statements. Maybe the if only isn’t something you really want. The contingency you are self limiting yourself with may not be something you are really willing to work that had for.  Maybe the expectation isn’t realistic. Maybe the person in your life that really is limiting you shouldn’t be in your life. Examine, truly and deeply examine the “If only” statements you make. Examine your motivations and really decide if you there is an obstacle to your progress or if you are self limiting.


Re-frame the “If only” into “How can” statements. Let’s say you examined your if only and there is a legitimate obstacle that needs to be overcome. Thinking of how can you solve the problems sets you free to overcome the obstacle you are facing. By asking a proactive question you can begin to work through a step by step process of creating a solution. Analyzing how to do something will lead to solutions that were never considered before.


Relating this to health and fitness: Everyone wants to be fit and life a healthy life. Everyone has work and family time that must be made a priority. Too often people say, “If only I could get to the gym more often then I could get in shape.” The question is “How can I get to the gym three times per week?” Re-frame and be specific. Maybe ask this questions, “How can I be more efficient with what I do so I can have more time?” How can I workout enough so I can be mentally and physically stronger?


If only I could reframe my issues into “How Can” questions then I would get everything I want.”

Author’s Notes: This is a re-post (pictures and text) from Hyperfit USA – CrossFit Ann Arbor  which Douglas Chapman owns. Make sure to check it out, and connect with him on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook Doug is a phenomenal coach and works with some of the best athletes in the Sport.

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Other posts that expand on what Doug was saying above – “What Are You Waiting For?” & “Always Your Fault, Or Always Their Fault” 


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