Process vs Product

One of the things I’ve “stolen” from the knitting community is the idea of being process vs product oriented. A process oriented person does things because they like the DOING of the things – they knit for the pleasure of knitting. A product oriented person knits for the END RESULT, and while they might enjoy knitting, they enjoy having a finished object more than they do the actual process of making it.

Most people are a little bit of both.

I have discovered that, in many aspects of my life, I am primarily product oriented. I don’t have any love for following a process, for the step by step doing of a thing, for the repeated effort of working on something. I get my fix from finishing stuff.

I do this at work (so much so that my boss knows that if I’m having a week where I’m bogged down in the process of five or six big proposals, she’ll assign me something small and quick, just so that I can have FINISHED SOMETHING DAMMIT that week). (My boss is awesome!) I do it with crafts – I like projects where I see the actual process quickly – big knitting on big needles, or small projects, or mandalas that only take a few hours to complete. The majority of the craft work that I do takes hours – not days, weeks, or months – to finish. I even hesitate to START big projects, because I know I’ll burn out on the process and they’ll sit, unfinished, for years.

And, I’m noticing, I do this with exercise.

Weight lifting is the first exercise program I have stuck with for more than six weeks (other than walking). The difference? I see real, measurable progress. I love doing yoga, but seem to have motivation issues to do it long term, because yoga doesn’t have any real markers for progress. Sure after months of work, I might notice I can go a little bit deeper in a forward bend, but it’s extremely slow, and yoga itself is essentially noncompetitive (which is part of what I like about it). With weights? I see progress – or not – every time I pick up a dumbbell. I have a little log book that tells me that in October, I could deadlift 35 lbs, and that this week, I can deadlift 90. While it’s not “finishing” something (I don’t suppose I’ll ever be truly finished), it’s giving me a real measure of accomplishment and results. (It’s also making the product about something I can DO, and not about how I LOOK, which is a good thing too.)

I know that I’m still in the “honeymoon” phase of lifting, where I’ll see fairly rapid gains in strength. I’m told that lasts 6 months to a year, and then the real “slog” begins. We’ll see how I do at that point. I am hoping that by then, this will be enough of a habit that I won’t be as bothered that I’m not adding weight every few weeks. For now though, I’m going to continue to pick up the heavy things and put them back down.

Rewriting my inner narrative for 2014

Putting this below a cut, so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to – this is me talking about, thinking about, and deciding to retell the narrative I have about my body. If you are uncomfortable about bodies, or are triggered by discussions of weight, restrictive eating, or other related topics, you may want to skip this post.

Continue reading “Rewriting my inner narrative for 2014”