At the beginning of this year, I gave myself a challenge: every other morning I would jog up the steep hill around the corner from my home 10 times in a row. The entire workout would take about 30 minutes each time.
For the first month, I was jogging whenever I had some spare time--sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening.
After about three months I got into a nice groove, where I began to set aside 7am as my jogging time so I wouldn't have to think about scheduling anymore.
Then, I spoke to a trainer friend of mine about my commitment. He asked me a few follow-up questions about my physical goals. And to my dismay, he informed me that in order to achieve my stated goals, I had been working out all wrong.
No need to get into the details in this email, but let's just say I wasn't maximizing my time, and in some ways I was even working against my goals.
Initially, I was deflated and slightly embarrassed to hear that after five dozen workouts, I was doing it wrong. I should've known better, I thought.
Needless to say, he gave me some valuable tips on how to refine and get the most out of my future workouts. Sure enough, when I implemented his suggestions, they made a big difference. And I enjoyed my workouts even more, knowing that they had been tweaked for better results.
Instead of beating myself up or, worse, regretting my past efforts (however extensive they may have been), I remembered that there is intrinsic value in doing something the wrong way--because when corrected, we always come away with a greater appreciation for doing it in a better way.
Experience is still the best teacher.