You’ve decided once and for all to get fit. Congratulations! Sometimes that can be the hardest part… Until the next hardest part comes in
Yes, unfortunately once you make the big decision all the health blockers will come in. I'll admit it, it's hard to get healthy when everything in your past has been pointing you to toward unhealthy.
Here are some practical ways to think about your health and fitness journey. Hopefully these help you overcome the difficulties.
One step at a time
First, you need to know that you don’t have to do it all right now. This will take some pressure off of your shoulders. As the Tao Te Ching says, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. As I look back on my own health and fitness journey, when I focused on what I was doing at that moment, everything flowed better.
You don’t need to know every step of the journey right now, you just need to know your first step. Getting healthy is similar to driving cross country. You might know generally which direction to go, and generally which roads you will take, but you don’t know about all the traffic and detours and other miscellaneous roadblocks and distractions that occur. Same thing with your health and fitness. When a roadblock happens, you might need to change direction. But you never change your decision to get healthy.
This is huge for me. After I go to the gym to workout, I get into my car with the feeling of satisfaction. I roll down my windows (sometimes even if it’s raining.) I find a motivating song on the radio, crank it up, and begin dancing and screaming in celebration. Fun to watch! ;)
This is so incredibly important, because it reminds me and my body that this is all fun. It reminds me that I’m headed in the right direction. It makes these grueling workouts playful. Incidentally, doing free-form dance like this also helps to break up the tight muscles when it comes to the monotony of weight training.
Create some ritual that you do before and/or after you workout. It might be dancing in the car, it might be walking in nature quietly, it might be celebrating by making your favorite healthy meal. Maybe you decide to hang a large calendar on your wall, and after every workout you put a big happy face in the space. Whatever it is, celebrate your victories. And here’s a hint, everything is a victory.
Similar to celebrating your victories, you want to maintain daily motivation anyway you can. One of my favorite ways is to create and then watch daily a mind movie.
Think of mind movies as multimedia affirmations. You can use any video editor, such as iMovie, WeVideo, etc.
How to make a mind movie
Upload a bunch of photos and/or videos that represent a positive outcome of your goal. In addition, create some affirmations that you write that will trigger you into remembering why you are doing this in the first place. You can also record your voice as a voice-over. Lastly, you can add music to inspire you.
When you're first beginning, watch this in mind movie every hour if you have to. Do whatever it takes to keep your motivation high. Pretty soon, you will feel good more often, and you won’t have to watch as much. Even so, I would still watch it a couple times a week just to maintain that direction.
It’s worth it
It helps to have people who are on the top of the health and fitness pyramid to constantly tell you that the climb is worth it. It's absolutely worth it! Sure, it’s harder to get in shape than it is to stay in shape. I know you are going through some grueling times. I know you feel like your arms are going to fall off after your workout. And you need to know that it’s all worth it. It totally is! And pretty soon you'll start to like that feeling of your arms falling off. Weird I know, but fit people enjoy the soreness, the work, and the "do it all over again" because we know that's part of the process.
Never ever ever quit. You can quit when you die. That is the only thing that should stop you. Literally, people who are healthy and fit get to a point where they say something like this “I’m either going to accomplish this goal, or die trying." That doesn’t mean that you are participating in risky behavior that might kill you, that means that for the rest of your life you are going to be aiming at this goal until it’s accomplished.
Now, grasp this subtle distinction. You are not going to continue down a road that is not working for the rest of your life. If something doesn’t work, change your strategy. But never ever give up on your big picture goal. Going back to the analogy about driving cross country, never change your decision to get there, but you might change the step-by-step way that you get there. Maybe you take a different road. Maybe you decide to drive faster. Maybe you decide to rest a little bit longer. But regardless, you never change your decision to get your destination.
Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s a struggle. Yes, getting fit is in incredibly worth it. Such a wonderful journey to be taking. I wish you the best. If there’s anything I can do to help you, I would love to reach my hand down the mountain and help pull you up. Just ask.