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Recently, I got knee surgery. Nothing crazy, just a little clean-out of some loose cartilage.

Ironically, a month prior I thought I was going to have to get elbow surgery for the same sort of thing, but the knee popped up and that was a much bigger issue.

Plus, my doctor quite honestly doesn’t really want to operate on my elbow because he says with two operations already in the past two years, it could just make things worse, so the only option then is to suck it up and deal with an occasional locking, pain, and instability when I’m trying to do certain types of activities.

Moral of the story… Don’t get old.

Anyway, today I was back in the gym and because my knee surgery was Thursday, I can only do upper body exercises.

So, I did what most guys do early in the week, chest day!

Thankfully I did not end up in the emergency room or reinjure anything!

However, while I was working out and writing down my numbers, I started comparing them to the numbers I had a couple of months ago.

And to be honest, I got a little depressed.

My weights were down.
My reps were down.

I started to think to myself, “Dang Carl, you’re getting weaker and older. You are not where you used to be.”

After I indulged myself that brief period of depression, I started to then think…

“Wait a minute. What’s the goal here? Is the goal to push a certain amount of weight? Is the goal to perform a certain amount of reps? Is the goal to impress people with my strength?
Or is the goal to maintain optimal health and be the best version of myself I can be today?”


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Here’s what many of us need to learn.

Too often we get caught up with numbers or the pursuit of perfection and we lose sight of the really important thing which is progress.

In the recovery world, I hear a lot of guys talking about sobriety and the number of days they’ve achieved. They get bummed when they slip up because they feel like they’ve just blown their perfect record and everything is a loss.

But the reality is this, they’ve made progress.

We all have setbacks.

I have the elbow, the knee and I’m age 49 (that’s a setback in and of itself) but pushing through is the best thing I can do because again, the goal is progress, not perfection.

Sure. I took a hit on my weights.
I took a hit on my reps.

But I’m still in the gym today when I could be at home watching sports center – That’s a win.

I’m still working out four days after knee surgery when many people would be on the couch drinking coffee – That’s a win.

I’m still in pretty dang good shape for my age, and I can play with my kids without being completely out of breath – That’s a win.

And the thing is this… When you start to add up all the little wins, you don’t get one big win. What you get is much better.

You get progress.

So, my challenge to you is to not focus on perfection or how many days you’ve gone without porn.

Rather focus on what you’re doing today and tomorrow to make progress in your journey to freedom.

Because at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

And someday after enough progress, you’ll be able to look back and say, “Wow. I did it after all. I found freedom.”

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