Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's All You

Nearly six months ago I decided to pick my New Years Revolution. Want to guess what it was? That's right. It was the same thing it has been every year, the same thing almost all of us choose. To lose weight and get in better shape.

That was the goal. Simple enough. I've always been in alright shape, but I'm a big beer fan so the gut has been sufficiently present. And I've always been able to lift a lot of weight and make my arms big but I was never really in good shape. Just kind of...bigger. Not the sort of all around I'd wanted.

And I told myself this year the same thing I tell myself every year, "It's going to be different this time! I'm actually going to do it! I'm going to look and feel the way I want to look and feel! All my life I've had a goal and I've never done it, until now! Now is the time! I'll do it." But usually every year I'd get about two months in and life would happen, or laziness, or exhaustion, or boredom. And I'd quit. I'd go back to it off and on but I was ultimately a yo-yo.

But this year, boy, this year! I decided, though I always doubted they worked, to try the at home stuff. I'm too poor to afford an actual gym membership (which isn't free at our Apartment complex because that's how the fancy kids roll apparently), so I started P90X. And I kind of enjoyed it. Then I decided I wanted faster results and saw a preview for another program called Hip Hop Abs. (I'm pretty sure it's more designed for women but hey, I had fun.) So I ran both of those programs side by side in a sort of doubles workout.

Though I started noticing results, I would miss days because, again, life would happen. I'd rarely so Saturdays or Sundays if I was supposed to, and stuck to my diet sort of Monday through Friday...until Friday night. Then the weekends were anything goes.

90 days later I'd completed P90X and took my after photos. I was in BETTER shape, but I knew I hadn't really given it my all. I'd slacked off in my diet, cut days of the workout if I was tired, and still fell prey to my own excuses. As a result, I had decent results, but not the results I'd hoped for. I was still making excuses for myself. Not everyone is required to be as strict, many people want different things, but what I wanted from myself is what I've wanted since I was a kid. To be in the best shape of my life. So it was time to step it up. I knew I really had to get serious if I was going to achieve my goal. That pesky belly fat clings to you like you wouldn't believe and love handles make you feel anything but love.

So I went back over the recommended diet. Calculated my caloric intake, and realized the most important thing I've ever realized about myself. Not just in fitness, but in my personality, in my world, in everything that makes me do the things I do. There was no one standing in my way. Absolutely no one. The only person who had caused me to slack off, to make excuses, to prevent me from reaching my goal was...me.

It was all me.

I decided to bump up the intensity with the next Beachbody program titled Insanity. This kicked my butt like you wouldn't believe. See I thought I was ready for it because I did P90X. Wrong. I was tired and sore and sweating more than a man could sweat if he was having dinner with the Devil. I felt like I was dying. I almost puked actually. (That's not good, remember that. That's bad.)

But I knew I still had a long way to go. But these were at home workouts, meaning the privacy of my own home, meaning I did them alone, by myself. Sure the people on the screen can motivate and push but at the end of the day...it's just a DVD you can turn it off as simply as the next. In fact you don't even have to put the disc in. You can skip it. It's up to you.

But I realized if I wanted what I always pined after, what I saw tons of other people having, what I thought about or how I felt when I got jealous of others, that it wasn't their fault. I can blame them and cry "It's not fair!" all I want but that won't change a thing. The only person who could change me at the end of the day was me.

And that's one of the meanings of life. It's all you.

And after knowing that little nice piece of trivia about myself, about all of us. I got the results I'd been after.



But if you hadn't noticed by now during all the hardships you've faced in life, it isn't easy to be positive all the time, to be motivating, to be strong willed and determined. In fact that's the hardest thing to do. The easiest thing to do in life is nothing. It's easy to make excuses, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to explain to yourself why something is okay even though deep down you know it isn't. That, unfortunately, is the easiest stuff in life. The bad stuff.

And you know that part of you that tells you, "They're different from you. You'll never be like that. Just accept the way you are and forget about your hopes of being any different." Well that part of you is lying to you. The only truth is that they're different from you. We're all different. That's called being an individual. But there is a very important sameness we all share; the ability to do whatever it is you believe you can do.

Cue the cheesy motivational speech? Sure. Cue the cliche's? Why not. But do you know what? They wouldn't be so overused and cliche if they weren't true. And do you know what a lot of people's reactions are to things like that, "you can do what you set your mind to"? Their reaction is, "Yeah, whatever. I'm not you. We can't all be like you. Don't give me that motivational crap." You know why people say that? Because they're afraid they don't have the same amount of confidence as someone else. And they think it long enough that eventually they believe it. Well it's not true and I'm telling you to stop it right now. To be blunt; stop making excuses. Sure you can't be me, exactly me. But if you're saying you can't do something, that's to say you and I are not equal as human beings, that's to say you don't believe in the equality between two individuals, for two people to be capable of the same things, and that's to say you surrender your ability to be extraordinary. This is akin to giving up.

You know the saying, "You're your own worst enemy"? Do you think your neighbors are waging war on your esteem? Your classmates are plotting against you? Your parents, friends, and peers are looking for any way they can to get inside your head and destroy you from the inside out? Sure there may be people in the world who don't like us, but the key to confidence is...we don't need them to like us. We can like us just fine. And when all this is said and done, the person responsible for feeling confident and sure versus down and defeated is yourself.

Don't take no for an answer. This isn't just about fitness anymore. Though it is now a very important and enjoyable part of my life, this is about what it takes to succeed at anything in life. A man or woman is only a failure if he or she accepts it. You yourself can never BE a failure, but you sure as hell can convince yourself you are. That's when you stop listening to that part of you that gets some sort of odd pleasure out of keeping the clouds over you, that likes it when it rains on your parade every day, that refuses to let the sun shine into your life.

But just as much as we all have that part in us, we each have equally as strong a part that can bring us out of that funk. You are not your own worst enemy if you refuse to let it be so. In fact, there is no greater motivator in your life than yourself. Friends can help. That's why I'm here. That's why I write this blog. But you know just as well as I do that the choice is ours to make. That's the point of free will.

It's all you.

You don't have to be your worst enemy, you can be your greatest hero. You can stop that voice inside that tells you you can't do something and tell it, yes I can. Success is a gradual process. It takes lots and lots of time and it takes a lot of hard work. But if you quit, where will you be? Back to complaining about how you aren't where you want to be. And who's fault is that? Stop pointing the finger. Accept some responsibility. And with that responsibility accept the knowledge that you can do whatever you set your mind to! Clearly in the past you've accomplished great negative things when you've set your mind on negative things. So why couldn't you be capable of doing just the opposite?

I could run in circles all day with this. The point being, I did something I never thought I could do. Never. I did something I always told myself I wanted to do then quit and made excuses and failed time and time again at. And the only reason I managed to succeed in the end was because I realized I would rather be my biggest supporter than my greatest threat. And I embraced that part of myself and put the negative part in perpetual time out. In fact he's still sitting in the corner right now, I can see him, all pouty and sad and feeling sorry for himself. And I just leave him there because I don't need him. He's no good for me.

Negative self esteem is worse for you than anything else in the entire world. Worse than soda and candy and junk food and booze and gambling and drugs. Because that negative part of you talks you into doing the things you know are bad for you. So smack him! The power of Christ compels that little bugger! Throw him out the window! You don't need that negativity. You've created it, so just as easily as you've embraced it, you can let it go.

I believe in Universal truths. Sue me. This is one of them. You and I? We're the same. You can have the confidence, the will, the determination, the courage to do the things you've always wanted to do. There's only ever one person standing in your way.

You.

So what are you going to do about it? What do you want from life? Are you ready to let go of that darkness inside you that you've been feeding off, that you've led to believe you need? Because it's time. Stop abusing yourself and start loving yourself. You can do it. I did. Anyone can. That's why I'm dedicated to building support teams, therapeutic little ways for us to motivate one another, to help instill in us the confidence we know lies dormant, but can burst out and shine brighter than any sun. Please, contact me, comment, say anything. You don't have to take no for an answer. The decision is yours. For better or for worse, it's all you.

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