How many times have you thought about going to the gym, followed immediately by the thought: "I can't go to the gym until I get in better shape!" so you don't go at all?
I mean...you are in good company. I can't count the number of times people have said this to me. Probably about the same number who've told me they'll start eating for health after the upcoming holiday/birthday/vacation/etc. All of whom added together equals the number of people who do neither. With very few exceptions.
I get it--I spent years in the same mindset. And the way my own health has transformed is far more a result of circumstance than of my own volition--circumstances I am to this day immensely grateful for. But it did take making that first step into the gym even though I was afraid, had no idea what to expect, and was by no means "in shape."
But I had to be ready to make that step mentally. I know that pushing people toward health doesn't work. Each individual has to come to a place where they want (need) change MORE than comfort. And they have to be willing to continue forward in that discomfort that always accompanies growth.
It doesn't matter if we're talking about food, exercise, or developing real self-awareness. All these things that are available to help us make our lives better: healthier, stronger, and happier, only come to us to the degree we are willing to be uncomfortable. And the resistance to do that which is best for ourselves is real.
My autoimmune forced me to pursue health and make the decision to reframe food into its proper perspective. It's medicine and fuel--not an emotional pacifier.
If I was going to stop the decline associated with my Hashimoto's I had no other choice than to get free of its emotional hold on me. And I absolutely needed to start exercising. Sigh.
Not until tripping over CrossFit (while looking for a gentle yoga class (a seemingly far less aggressive approach to fitness), did I find the courage to pursue physical fitness--for real. And it was uncomfortable to be sure.
At the time, I had no frame of reference for how deconditioned I actually was (translation: I didn't know what I was getting myself into)--which became abundantly clear after my first class. I was shocked by my weaknesses, but also decided they were unacceptable--so I kept going back.
A combination of innate stubbornness, a realization I needed these strong role models in my life, and the health benefits I began noticing about three months in were all I needed to keep moving forward full on. I made the decision to put my health first, and my fears behind me. I would show up and do the work consistently no matter how I felt. It's the best decision I have ever made--and living life inside a body that can support me is better than I could have imagined--and it just keeps getting more interesting, exciting, and fun as a result.
Discomfort looks different depending on where you're standing in your life journey. Growth is not linear, but it does tend to be very progressive if you're committed to the process. And action--step one--is the only way to get that thing moving in the direction of your best possible life.
This is where physcial training really shines. Because small step by small step we have everything we need to get strong and healthy--and to begin to reverse the decline that has already begun to set in our bodies. It starts early but the symptoms start to surface later in life--and they build moment with every passing year.
Getting in front of this process only requires making the decision to start from where you are today, and to build from there. As you grow stronger, you begin to feel better and see everything around you differently.
Learning to climb a rope is a great illustration.
The first time my coach asked me to climb a rope, I didn't have the upper body strength to lift my body weight up on the rope. And the height of the rope was terrifying.
Realistically when would I really need this skill? Maybe I could talk my coach out of this one---nope.
I started by laying flat on the floor underneath the rope and pulling myself into a sitting position. For the record, when you're lying on the floor things look a certain way--everything seems huge. You feel vulnerable--like someone might not see you and step on you. And fear creeps in as you contemplate the height of the rope--"holy cow that's waaaay up there!"
Try it, you'll see what I mean.
After repeating this process enough to build some upper body strength, I was able to pull myself from sitting into a standing position. Okay then. Sitting on the floor under the rope is less overwhelming for sure. Confidence starts to build--but the rope still goes on for 15" so there's that... As I saw everyone around me climb effortlessly up the rope, I became all the more determined to get there.
Finally, I built enough strength to start from a standing position and support my body weight on the rope that I began to feel excited about the process. I could feel in my body and mind that I was getting stronger. I knew that I would be able to hang on to the rope.
Because of the progression, the work wasn't getting easier. It was just that my body was getting strong and I was excited about it. My perspective had shifted to a new level.
A few months later, I was able to climb all the way up the rope!
There were some things I had to figure out along the way--like how to position my feet, and how to get back down!--but NOW I could see the whole gym from the top of the rope. The fear was gone. This perspective changed everything.
Through each step of this strength-building progression, I was able to gain a far better vantage point. I could see more of what was available to me from my position of newfound strength.
One rope climb turned into two, two into three, and so it goes. I've done hundreds since--and they are now one of my favorite things to do.
Listen, if we settle into the lie that we have to already be strong in order to get strong--we miss the whole thing. It's not how it works. You have everything you need to build health and strength--but you have to start.
Building physical and mental strength means starting where you find yourself today. Decide to set your fear to the side, show up, and do the work consistently. You will most definitely get stronger, your perspective will continue to improve as you position yourself to see more and more of what is available to you. Your life becomes richer and you have more to give.
If you want to smash midlife, you're going to need to build core strength--pysically and mentally. I couldn't have made it up that rope on my own--I needed my coach. Coaches help you reach heights you would never reach on your own.
Are you ready to reach for more and lean into the life of health, wellness, and strength you were born for? Schedule a consultation with me to learn about our next Smashing Midlife group coaching session or one-on-one coaching sessions here! I can't wait to connect with you!