The single worst thing you can do to sabotage your progress towards your goal is to hate yourself through the whole journey. If you refuse to be happy with yourself until you get to where you want to be, you are essentially holding yourself to a level of perfection, and are constantly feeding the lie that you will never be good enough. Isn’t that essentially the core of most of the lies we face? That we’ll never be good enough? I hate to break it to you, but *newsflash,* you will never be perfect, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. It’s beautiful. Why? Because our imperfections are what make us human. The flaws, the insecurities, the baggage. It’s part of what shapes us into who we are. More than that, when we overcome and fight those challenges to better ourselves and those around us, our lives transform into inspiring stories and testimonies of strength and perseverance.
If you are trying to lose weight, celebrate every pound of fat that you lose and every pound of muscle you gain. Get excited over the fact that you went to the gym today even though you really didn’t feel like it. Be happy, even giddy, when you drop a jean size, even though you aren’t where you would ideally like to be yet. Be proud of yourself for doing the first workout in that program you just started, because starting is often the hardest part. Throw a party with some friends when you get back on track again, no matter how many times you have tried and failed before. There is no reason this year can’t be the year you finally make the changes you need to better yourself.
The same goes for any other fitness goals. If you’re trying to build muscle, adding half a pound to your deadlift is just as amazing as adding 10 pounds, because no matter the number, what really counts is the difficulty you had to overcome to get there.
Now I don’t want to sound like one of those feel-good coaches who wants you to be happy with yourself all the time even if you aren’t putting in the work you should be. I’m going to be honest and blunt with you because I think you deserve the truth – if you are being lazy and consistently feeding a bad lifestyle, that isn’t something you should be proud of. Not that you should hate yourself, but there is nothing honorable about continuing on a path that is bound for your destruction. There is no reason you can’t get off your butt and do what you know you should be doing to live a healthier lifestyle, for your sake and those your life impacts. I’m not saying it’s easy, that’s the whole reason you should celebrate when you finally do the right thing – because it’s incredibly difficult, and anybody who follows through and pushes themselves should be proud, no matter how much of a tangible difference it is making in their body. Effort should be celebrated, results come later.
Honestly, if one of my clients puts in 110% effort, loves herself along the way, and gets back up with humility when she fails, I will be ten times more proud of her than the athlete who was born with genetics that made him a superstar in his sport. Because doing something easy or that comes naturally to you isn’t really that spectacular. Hard work, perseverance, and honest sweat are what really matter and will bring lasting results in the end.
Now before you assume I’m talking to you from the end of my journey because I have it all together, just hold your horses. I hate it when people assume that because I’m a self-proclaimed fitness addict, working out must be easy for me. It isn’t. I had to go through all the same doubts, insecurities, and difficulties when I started out that we all deal with at some point. Even now, after several years of hard work that is finally yielding tangible results, I don’t feel like working out most days. I’m usually too tired or unmotivated and would really rather just have a snack or take a rest day. Sometimes I can psych myself up, but most days I can’t. But I almost always do it anyway (unless I really need a legit rest day), and I’m always glad I did. That’s the only reason I’ve gotten as far as I have – by doing it day in and day out, especially when I don’t feel like it.
I’m not saying any of that to build myself up, I just hope to encourage some of you who may be struggling with sticking to a workout plan or healthy eating program. I never want to present myself as the know-it-all who has it all together, because I don’t. I’m as human as you are, and we’re in this together. And I promise, if I can do it, you can find a way that works for you as well.
I also deal with some of the same insecurities I always have. I will never look the way I want, mostly because my mind constantly changes as far as what I think the most beautiful body type looks like. Muscular and super strong like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet? Sculpted and lean like Misty Copeland? Or somewhere in between like Jen Widerstrom? I’m coming to realize there is no ideal body type because no matter how much you try, you will look like your own unique version of fit in the end.
I also have a lot of natural imperfections that make my personal fitness journey that much harder for me. For instance, I naturally build muscle in my upper body a LOT faster than in my legs, despite the crazy amount of leg work I do. My legs tone up, but it seems like it takes forever to build any mass (not that I want crazy amounts of mass, just a little extra thickness to support the amount I want to lift). My shoulders and arms, on the other hand, build muscle relatively quickly if I do certain exercises. Not that my upper body is huge though either – I’m not naturally a very large person. So anyways my point is that I totally understand if you feel like your body is working against you most of the time. Unfortunately there isn’t a perfect formula that works for everyone. You have to find what works for you and your unique needs.
In summary, don’t wait until you are “perfect” to be happy with yourself. Celebrate all the small successes along the way, because those are what count. And if you are reading this and realize you haven’t even started yet because of some excuse or another, get on the right track today. Don’t put it off, do something you can be proud of and then stick with it. I would argue that the biggest challenge of getting fit is not the amount of work you have to put your body through, but rather all the lies and doubts you have to change in your mind. Take it one step at a time, relax, breathe, and enjoy the journey.
What is something you did in the past month that you can be proud of (no matter how “small” it seems)? What is something you will do this coming week to improve yourself? What is one specific insecurity you struggle with and what are you doing to overcome it? I’d love to hear any of your thoughts in the comments!