In dance, the obvious goal is to master the choreography—but that’s not the only one. “Focusing on the memorization and repetition keeps your mind sharp,” says Boston-based dancer and group fitness instructor Chad Flahive. “Dance classes celebrate movement and joy. You can come for that.”
The same approach works in other areas of life. Your purpose at an off-season race, for example, could be to test a new fueling strategy or simply spend an hour or two outside rather than finishing with a certain time. When tackling a new project at work, you could prioritize collaborating across departments to build your network.
“At first glance, dance combinations can seem overwhelming,” Vo says. “Break things down into digestible chunks and before you know it, you will have mastered the combo.”
In strength training, you might perfect a controlled single-leg bodyweight deadlift before adding a barbell. With long-term training or career plans, it’s a simple mindset switch: Focus on tackling the next workout or to-do rather than thinking of everything that needs to be done over the next few months—or years—to reach your goal.
“With dance, anybody can perform the same set of steps, but I’m always looking for ways to be more poetic and luminous, with a sense of style and aesthetic panache,” Vo says. “With that kind of awareness and attention to detail, you can really color your work in a way that is uniquely you.”
Putting your own spin on things, whether it's through style choices or a recipe you're adapting, encourages creativity and can lead to higher satisfaction with the final product, he adds. “In this day and age of social media and technology, it’s important to highlight your individuality,” Vo says.