We want to learn new stuff.”

“Yeah, new stuff!”

“Aw, come on, teacher, show us the next moves!”

Without fail, my fellow Tai Chi students would hound our teacher to learn new things each week in class.

These were the same people who never seemed to practice between classes. As a consequence, they barely knew the moves (if they remembered at all) from the week before.

It’s natural to seek novelty.

It spices up life.

But this desire newness can sabotage our success when it comes to mastering new skills.

How many times have you contorted yourself to bang out a few more pull-ups?

Cutting corners with our form and execution may not harm us in the short term, but it sets us up for bad habits and injury down the road.

Really what we’re talking about here is integrity.

Prioritizing integrity over the feeling of advancement. And it can only be a feeling and not true advancement, if we are sacrificing integrity.

Integrity is the cement that holds together our foundation. Without it, we build on sand.

When we perform physical movements without integrity, that is exactly what we are practicing and making habit: A lack of integrated and functional movement.

It will haunt us and hurt us if we put enough energy into our dysfunctional practice.

The same can be said for the rest of life outside of our movement practice.

The going gets tough, but we want to feel like we’re moving forward so we cut corners, lie to ourselves about how it’s going, hurry, or focus only on what we’re good at (instead of what needs to be strengthened).

But this isn’t true progress. It’s a sham.

We’re better off being honest, slowing down, and working on our weaknesses—even if it feels hard.

We’ll thank ourselves later when true progress is achieved.