If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride
When we all started this, there were 72 people with 72 different reasons for moving forward with this important process. I’m sure that we all had high hopes and visions of what we thought we would get out of it. We’re more than halfway into this thing now so let’s evaluate where we are and how our expectations have/haven’t been met.
Did you really think that you would look like Beyoncé in 10 weeks? Did you think that eating one less Snickers per week was going to give you a six pack? When you eat now, does it look like a ravenous bear that’s eating for the first time after last winter’s hibernation?
After six or so weeks, reality has set in and all of the variables that go into fitness/weight loss: genetics, exercise, calorie intake, calorie quality, work/family pressure and even depression have taken their toll. All those unrealistic expectations have crashed into the hard reality that personal growth and change of any kind is difficult.
The simple truth is that it’s just flat-out hard to overcome the relentless nature of the obstacles in front of you. The scale doesn’t care how hard work was today. Your butt doesn’t care if you had an argument with your spouse. The gym building doesn’t care if you workout there today or not. That bag of potato chips doesn’t care if you eat one chip or the whole bag. It’s your MIND that’s the key, not your body.
Many of the habits that we’ve developed over our lives work contrary to our own best interests but it’s such a gradual process that we may not realize how far off we are from where we need to be. On top of that, our culture barrages us with images of unattainable beauty juxtaposed with commercials for greasy bacon and cheese surrounded by a deep fried chicken “bun”. Oh, and let’s wash it down with something so sugary that it’s like drinking syrup. It’s no wonder that half the young kids I see around town are already obese.
Yet, despite it all, you’ve all decided to make this major change in your life. It isn’t easy to confront your fears and you deserve to be congratulated. The truth is that most people WISH for change but they don’t really STRIVE for it.
- I WISH that I had a better relationship with my mother.
- I WISH that I had more money.
- I WISH that I had a body like Beyoncé.
Thoughts like those are fun to think about but they have no real role in determining personal success. So, let’s strike while the iron is hot. Let’s use the decision to take part in this as just the first step in an overall plan to confront our insecurities and fears head on.
Whatever the obstacle to your growth/change/happiness is, purposefully and definitively address it. Now, not tomorrow, not next year. This is not some platitude. I mean LITERALLY attack it…right now. You will be stunned at the weight it takes off your shoulders, no matter what the specific outcome is. Once you tackle that first one, try to make this your default behavior whenever difficulties arise. Hey, it’s not easy or natural. You have to MAKE yourself do it.
Maybe you’re estranged from an important family member. Maybe your child’s teacher wants you to have a conference but you are putting it off because you are afraid of what she might say. WHATEVER it is, just address it, now. Sure, the result may not be pretty but you will at least get closure and the weight on your mind will still be gone. That’s the difference between wishing and striving. When you take on your very toughest issues, you get all of the benefits of striving for improvement and leave behind the draining mentality of unfulfilled wishing.
These last few weeks are going to be tough for everyone. We’ll all be hungrier and ‘testier’ than ever, especially those competing for the top prizes. Come to think of it, they are all probably on the elliptical right this minute…
Are you sick and tired of eating ‘grass’? Watching super-fit people prance around the gym like precious little ponies? Trying not to slip and snap your leg off in the Jacob’s Ladder machine? Of COURSE you are!
But wait a minute. Let’s all take a really deep breath and see where we are:
- You’ve met new people that you never would have met otherwise. I’ve even seen people develop new business contacts.
- You’ve made new friends.
Some of them are what I call ‘misery buddies’. “Hey, how’s your misery today? Oh, it’s GREAT! Don’t you hate your trainer? Oh, HELL YES!” Or… “What did you eat today? A celery stick with just a hint of cottage cheese on it and a tepid water chaser. Mmmmmmm, you dined like a QUEEN today! All I did was suck on my shoe for a little while before weigh in.”
But seriously, I can see lots of new friends being made that will last long after this is over. Make no mistake about it, if you make even one new friend from this, it was worth every drop of sweat you put into it.
- You’ve lost some weight. Whether it’s a few pounds or 50 doesn’t matter. The point is that there is less weight for your heart and joints to support.
- I don’t care if you’ve lost only 2 pounds. You’re WAY healthier now than you were on day 1. Guess what? That’s the point of the whole thing!
- You’ve built healthier habits that you can carry forward indefinitely.
Those things are far more important than the relatively little bit of misery that we go through. So, slap those obstacles in the face and keep striving for what you really want out of life. Oh, and just smile and wave at the prancing ponies as they trot by.