“This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.”- Bertrand Russell, prelude to autobiography
In my post about leaving a toxic relationship, I talked about a jumping-off point. There is a basic crossroads here – you either accept where you are at, or don’t. If you do accept where you are at, then you can keep things exactly the way they are.
If you don’t accept where you are at, then decide to do something about it. A decision to commit to change, to transformation, and to a new way of life.
The point is, you don’t have to accept the status quo, whether it’s in your career, relationships, or your body goals. You can and should give yourself permission to go after what you think you deserve. This is possible by living your live seeking meaning. You don’t have to find meaning to succeed – in fact, you should be searching for the rest of your life. Seeking it will give you the energy and drive to keep doing great things instead of passively doomscrolling through updates of other people’s lives.
I talk about my experience with finding meaning in fitness in this podcast featured below. I was lost, frightened, and my confidence was completely destroyed. Finding meaning and community in fitness helped me turn my entire life around, inside and out.
Ignite your why
A critical part of the decision to go on a fitness journey is knowing why you are taking this first step. Why did you click on this article? Why do you want to change?
A book that I recently read, which really crystallizes this concept is Simon Sinek’s Start with Why . The basic concept in the book is that people jump to the wrong questions – the what, how, and the when. Don’t you notice that when you first get acquainted (especially if you live in DC, like I do), one of the first questions that people ask is what you do. But the “why” is a question that is beyond immediate ROI. The great achievers of our times have a vision. An inspiration that carries them through all of the challenges and time that goes by without seeing results.
The “why” is what gets you through the sacrifices you need to make – and keeps you going day after day. The pandemic brought an explosion in the interest in fitness. People wanted to seize control in a world where they felt trapped and like they had no control. That can be a purpose, but you also want to dig deeper and find something that will make fitness more sustainable. One of the challenges in starting a blog about fitness during a pandemic was not the pandemic itself, but thinking of how to keep the fitspo going after we get through vaccines and start transitioning back. It won’t be exactly like it is now, and it won’t be the same as before. The great thing about fitness is that it is fluid. I will continue my journey back into that new normal – and I want you to come with me.
What will Fitness DO for you?
Ultimately,we all make investments because we want SOMETHING. What is it?
For me, fitness was about healing. I was in pain. I wanted things to get better. Fitness was my lifeline.
But that was then. If you stop at the short-term why, you may find that your motivation may slowly wane. If you lost those 10 pounds, you may think that you are done. If that’s the case, you need a different why. A “why” that is more connected to your higher purpose.
Fitness healed me, and through that healing process I discovered it was a way to build a community. And that network grew and grew – from people I took workout classes with, to my team at work, to my family, to even my clients. Now, my north star is leveraging fitness to make connections with people, like you. So we can inspire each other and keep each other motivated.
Setting it into action – get SMART goals
In my profession, acronyms are king, so I will have to throw one out there. SMART is an acronym for sensible, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound goals. This is a good article to learn more about the framework. Let me explain how it can help you.
It’s not your fault that a decision to get in shape January petered off by now. It’s the wrong framework, or lack thereof. The DAO of being a #fitprofessional will help you set SMART goals.
So your decision is not going to be, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds in a month!” or “I’m going to work out for an hour every single day without fail!” or “I’m never going to eat a carb again!”
It’s going to be more like, “I am going to reach a new PR in three months,” or “I will lose 5 pounds in one month.” (if you don’t have more than 5 pounds you want to lose, you may need to make it two, i.e., be realistic).
Go back to my first “DAO” posts – decision, action, and outlook, to learn about the framework for setting and achieving fitness goals.
Keeping the faith – and the action
Attaining fitness is a challenge – but the real challenge is sticking with it. Consistency is key. Over the years, I have viewed fitness almost like a marriage – you have to stay committed, even when times get tough and you feel like you are in a rut. By constantly going back to my purpose, I find inspiration to keep me going when I feel tired, unmotivated, or just too busy to make time for fitness.
Tracking your goal accomplishment is also important. I take progress pictures pretty regularly, and I also weigh myself at least once every two weeks to keep on track. I plan and track my meals and exercise, and track my actual food intake everyday. You can find out more about why metrics are so important in my DAO of metrics post.
Once you understand the why, make a decision to throw all your old beliefs and habits out the window and start a new way of life. Make a decision to commit. Make a decision to endure.
More: What’s your north star?A short guide to defining your purpose (Minimalist vegan)