Way back in high school, I was in shape because I played sports after school almost year-round. Over the years, I have tried over and over again to start a good routine of exercise, but it’d last a month or so and then life would get in the way – again. You know the drill: work, kids, no time, no energy, too many deadlines, and then finally… just not caring anymore. In the meantime, my work has me sitting at a computer 90% of the day. The end result? Not feeling or looking nearly as healthy as I know I could be and constantly wishing I could do something about it.
I finally stopped wishing, and started doing something about it. A month into my new routine though, I hit a wall. I wasn’t seeing results. I felt like I’d made tons of changes and I knew I was exercising 3 to 4 times per week, but still, I wasn’t seeing any results. I wasn’t losing weight and my clothes didn’t feel any looser than when I’d started.
Truth be told, I didn’t get into this routine in order to lose weight. I got into it in order to create a healthy lifestyle. Losing weight and/or inches though, is a measurement that I can track. Not having anything trackable actually happening was frustrating.
So what did I do? I did the only thing I thought I could do: I whined. I went to my trainer and whined, pointing out all that I was doing – cutting calories, working out – how hard I was really trying and yet, why or why wasn’t anything really happening?!
Guess what he said. “If you really want the results you say you do, then what you’re doing isn’t enough. You have to do more, work harder, exercise 6 days a week not just 3 or 4 – Oh, and be patient. You didn’t get where you are over night. You’re not going to get back into shape over night either.”
And here I thought I was going to get a pat on the back for doing so well compared to what I’d been doing all these years! Ha!
I wanted to argue with him. And I believe to some degree I did. I told him how busy I was, to which he replied, “So is everyone else who gets down here and does it.” Deep down, I knew he was right – I just didn’t want to hear it. I’d wanted him to buy into my sob story and let me off the hook. But he didn’t. Truth is, I wouldn’t have respected him much as my coach and trainer if he had. He told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear.
I thought about it the rest of the day. Do I have what it takes? Am I really committed to this? Do I really want the results I keep saying I do? Am I willing to step it up? Or do I want to simply accept where I am and learn to live with it?
When the alarm clock went off extra early the next morning, I wanted to throw it across the room. I hit the snooze instead and rolled over.
When it went off again, I thought through the decision I was making. It wasn’t just about getting up or not. It was about what I was willing to do in order to achieve what I keep telling myself and others I want to achieve. Am I willing? I hit the snooze again and closed my eyes for a few more minutes.
When it went off for the third time, I decided to see what I could do. I got up. I wandered around and got dressed, got water, had some yogurt, and finally meandered out the door to head to the gym. I really didn’t feel like going. It was a time of day I hadn’t gone before so I knew I wouldn’t know anyone. I was tired. I didn’t feel like I had the energy for this at all.
But I went.
As I pulled up in front of the building it occurred to me that what I really wanted were the results without having to go through the process. It reminded me of a few rules about life that I hear myself sharing with others, but needed to remind myself of:
1. You’re pretty much guaranteed not to see results right away – it’s a cumulative effect.
2. You're pretty much guaranteed not to see dramatic differences each time - except those rare moments when you see the results you've accumulated.
3. You are absolutely guaranteed zero results if you don't put the time, effort, energy, blood, sweat, and even tears into it.
4. Sometimes you might get hurt, or experience setbacks – don’t mean it ain't worth it though.
5. You can do it alone, with others, with or without professional help. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what's right for you.
6. Plenty of things will try to hold you back, but nothing will stop you from quitting except for you.
7. At the end of the day, it's your choice. The only real question is: what will you do with it?
Quite often when we start something we've never done before we don't really "get" what it's going to take to achieve the results we want - no matter what anyone tells us about the process. Then, when we do finally "get" it we hit a wall – just like I did, and just like many of my clients do – and we want to quit. But at some point we have to recognize that if we really want what we say we want then we need to make a key decision: put up or shut up.
As I walked into the gym and set down my water bottle, I was right: I didn’t recognize or know anyone there. It felt awkward and I wasn’t even awake yet. But I did it anyway. I worked out harder than I had before. No, I still didn’t see any dramatic results – unless you count the aching, stiff muscles – and I still couldn’t tell a difference yet in my overall body shape. That will take time and more accumulation of effort. But I walked away with more confidence in my ability to take one more step forward toward my goal than I had when I walked in that morning and I knew I was stronger for it.
What are you striving for?
Lori Chance is a collaborative writer and editor specializing in how-to, informational, spiritual, and personal development articles and books. Her self-coaching book for women titled Who Am I? is now available through Amazon and her website. Learn more about finding out who you really are and what you really want, and receive the Top 5 Secrets to Successfully Change Your Life for FREE, by visiting her website and blog at www.authorshipforexperts.com.