Be True to Yourself
There is so much talk in our society these days about becoming healthier so we can enjoy our lives. We are living so much longer than our ancestors ever did. But, with all of that hype, it all really comes down to making a decision for ourselves. Until we make that decision, it will all just be dreams and wishes. There is a huge difference between wanting to change and deciding to change. Once any decision is made, the next step is making a plan or roadmap in order to bring the change about. This usually entails some goal setting. We are creatures who work best when we are striving for something. We like to achieve and be able to tell ourselves that we have accomplished a goal. When our goal is to become healthier, we need to take the time to look at what we are doing now and what will need to change in order to make that goal a reality because we all know that doing the same thing we have always been doing will not achieve a change. We have to change what we are doing and vague ideas of how to do that will only get us vague results. So, take some time and write down your roadmap of how you will get from point A, where you are now in life, to point B, where you want to get to.
Oftentimes when we are going to do something we have not done before, we hire an expert. In this instance, we may consider hiring a personal trainer, someone who has guided many others down the path we are beginning to traverse. This is a person we, in essence, hand ourselves over to and say, “Here I am. I have not figured out how to do this on my own, so I will trust you to help me along the way toward some goals I’d like to reach. I will trust you to guide me.”
In order to be successful, the other part of this is that we must we willing to say, “I will do my part to achieve those goals too.” And, so we begin our fitness journey.
But, often, somewhere along the way, we find that we begin to cheat on ourselves. We are great in the gym. We work up a sweat. We do exactly what is asked of us. But, when we walk out that door, we forget our part of the bargain. And, when we remember, we start a debate in our minds and come up with every reason (excuse) on why we aren’t sticking to our plan. Here is what we might hear:
“I just can’t figure out why my weight isn’t dropping. I’ve been so faithful about going to the gym every day and working with my trainer. But, nope, that scale just sits there at the same weight. Some days it even goes up. I just don’t get it. My trainer must not be pushing me hard enough. That must be it. If only he would give me routines that would make me sweat harder, then I would see the scale drop and my pants would start fitting me better. I mean, after all, I’m putting all of this effort out. Five days a week I am there, working my heart out. I even eat nutritious food and stay away from sweets. (Really?) Well, most of the time I do. (Are you being honest with yourself?) Okay, well maybe I eat out a little too often, but I really do try to eat well. (Are you willing to track your food intake and show it to anyone?) Sure, I can keep track of my food and that will prove that I am doing well. But, let’s see, I just won’t record that candy bar I had after my lunch. And just maybe I will leave off the piece of cake after dinner. After all, it was just a small piece and besides that, no one saw me eat it, so no one would know that I skipped writing it down. (But, you know that you ate it.) You know, I don’t want my trainer to think bad of me, so I’ll just pretend I had a salad for lunch instead of that hamburger. (You know that you aren’t being honest with yourself.) And when he asks if I rolled and stretched, I can say I did, because I did do it that once, a week or two ago, I think. (But, you know she is asking if you are doing it on a regular basis.) I’ll just say yes because I really don’t want to be lectured to, and I’ll try to do better this week. (You know you shouldn’t say you will unless you truly plan on it.)”
Does any of this sound like a conversation that might take place in your head? There are 24 hours in every day. That is 168 hours in a week. If we exercise or train on a regular basis, that’s approximately 5 hours a week with our trainer, leaving us responsible for ourselves the other 163 hours.
During that time, we need to be responsible for what we do, what we eat, and how we work toward accomplishing our fitness goals. Our trainer is there for guidance and for assisting in plan development, but he or she is not with us for all of those hours. Those hours are ours to do what we will. Those are our hours to work the plan that has been developed. If we fail to work that plan, whether it is with our food intake, or our stretching and rolling, or our other activities, there is no one to blame but ourselves. After all, it is our goal, no one else’s. In addition to our hour of training, we should look at these areas:
Additional Activities: We need to make a plan for what we will do outside of our training to move us toward our goal. Maybe we could do some walking, hiking, or take up a new sports activity.
Nutrition: We need to really look at what we are eating. If we expect to see results, we must change our nutrition habits. No amount of training will compensate for a lousy diet. In short, we need to get the processed foods and sugars out of our system and give our bodies foods that are nutritious. A simple idea is that if you are going to eat something, look at the nutrition label and, if it has more than three ingredients, you should think twice before eating it.
Body care: As we begin training, it is likely that we are working on muscles and moving joints which have long been ignored. Because of this, it is important to care for ourselves. Our trainer teaches us how to stretch and roll our muscles so they can grow and become toned. It is up to us to continue this on a daily basis outside of our training. After all, we have asked our trainer to help us change our bodies, so the least we should be doing is maintaining those changes as they take place.
Research shows that we become 42% more likely to achieve our goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis. So, if we truly want to see changes in our health and fitness, we need to take some time, sit down and write out the plan we will institute to achieve those goals. I would suggest we look at each of the categories above and decide how we will incorporate those changes into our lives.
As we write out our roadmap for changing, I’d like us to contemplate this… Why is it that we find it easier to keep a promise to someone else, but not to ourselves? Are we not important? What are we doing to our self-esteem when we don’t follow through on what we tell ourselves we will do? When we tell our work colleagues or our friends that we will do something or be somewhere, don’t we bend over backward to be sure that our word is our bond? Aren’t we proud to know that they are saying, “If she says she will do it, I can take it to the bank.” or “I know I can count on him because he said he will do it.” Why, then do we let ourselves down and why are we not true to ourselves?
We can choose. We can decide. We can plan. We can achieve. We can make positive decisions and choose to take control of ourselves. We can count on ourselves again. We can trust ourselves to ourselves, for whom better to count on? We are the one person who can have ultimate control in not letting us down, in doing exactly what we say we will do. And so, that is our challenge, to be able to say to ourselves, “You can count on me.”