No, I'm not the first person who's ever done this, but it's how the weights fall out. See, I had made it all the way up to 50lb dumbbells, but the second I thought about 55's, I started to doubt. Yes, they are only 5lbs apart, like every other incremental increase I've made, but every weight from 5-50 is on the top rack; 55-100 are on the bottom rack, and it's like I'm in a whole new world.
I'm not a big guy, so what other guys can use for pinky curls might be my max. I got some serious progress last spring (people noticed the results without me saying anything), then quit working out and atrophied a little. I tried once over the summer and once in the fall to start again, but with little success. As a result, I had to go back down a few increments on every exercise and then build back up again.
Somewhere in there I forgot how I got to that weight in the first place last spring: one week at a time. I started low and breezed through almost a month before it started actually getting difficult. For one, being small, I doubted how much I could do. Most of that was a building up process, and I got my muscles used to increasing the weight. This time, provided I don't give up again, I could not just meet but exceed what I had done this time last year.
My first year of playing little league, I never once swung the bat during a game. At some point in time, I became afraid of striking out (mostly afraid of swinging at something that wouldn't be a strike if I hadn't swung). I knew that if i just held on and didn't swing, I might just get walked, and I could be thankful for getting to first base. Looking back, I realized that probably came from the year before, when I played on a soccer team where everyone dogged me. Maybe someone would be nice to me once a week, but it was never the same person, and the next week they'd be dogging me as well. I can see where my self esteem might have gone out. And I believed them, too.
What happened was that I built a ceiling for myself, saying, "I'll never get above this." We all do this:
- I'll never be able to stop drinking
- I'll never have a job with real responsibility
- I'll never beat cancer
- I'll never have full control over my mind
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
-- II Corinthians 12:7-10.
The trick is to let Him do what He wants to. I remember I had almost given up on teaching when the Lord spoke to me out of this passage, saying, "My grace is enough, and we're going to get through this together!"