Have you ever wanted something you believed it was yours to take….
….just like that, it was?
It could’ve been the car you’re now driving around. Agrade you needed for the Uni you’re now in. Or deciding you deserved the better life you’re now living…
Think back to a time when you wanted something…
Did you get it?
If you didn’t, what stopped you?
Let’s take a trip back down memory lane, when we were just children… Because life was simpler right?
We were so young; full of love, hope and ambition that we believed anything was possible and no-body was going to tell us otherwise!
We wanted to be the next president; play football for our favorite team, or even just live a happy life on an island, surrounded by all our friends and family.
We grew up believing life is what we make it. If we were naughty we’d get coal in our stockings, and if we ate our crusts our hair would go curly.
Instantaneously we got older and everything we ever wanted, or thought was true had all been a lie!
That’s right… My hair never got curly, and I ate ALL my crusts.
We’re laughed at, told it’s impossible or that we don’t have enough money to finance our dreams. We’re told to start thinking ‘sensibly,’ about our careers and be more ‘realistic,’ about what we can do…
You wanted to be the next tooth fairy?
Well guess what? You can’t- the tooth fairy doesn’t exist!
Just like that our ambitions get thrown into the deep and we’re forced to drown amongst society’s self-doubts.
Anything is possible if you stop listening to the doubters and start listening to the encouragers!
In the last few years of living as a student, I developed an unstructured, and very unhealthy regime. If ever I’d voice my worries about a lack of exercise, as a petite person, it only seemed to cause a stir of annoyance to others around.
“Oh shut up, you don’t need to worry! You already have a good body”.
Yes, that’s right, I was exiled from worrying about exercising because of the way my body looked on the outside.
….What size did I have to get too, or be, before I was allowed to worry exactly?
Would you tell a rich person they had no reason to be sad throughout quarantine because they were trapped in a nicer house than you?
Sometimes it’s not what you say to people, it’s who you say it too that either encourages a positive attitude or motivates more self-doubt.
Let’s say there’s two kids, they’re both eight years old and have been playing football ever since they could walk -Child one comes from a wealthy background, and child two comes from an extremely poor family.
Whilst child two may not have the best pair of boots on the team, it’s all he knows, and so he’s got the biggest heart for the game. Child one on the other hand is privileged to partake in a variety of hobbies, and struggles to prioritise it all; his parents are too busy working to ever watch a game so he never receives encouragement or appraisal.
In contrast, child two’s parents watch every game so journeys home are spent discussing the positives and negatives of the match; encouraging their child they played really well, even if their team lost that day.
“You can’t win them all, but you can learn from it to be better!”
When we become adults money is like a dictator in our heads, telling us things we can and can’t do. But, is it not obvious that child two in this circumstance has a better chance at becoming a professional footballer than child one?
Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Sanchez, Neymar, Suarez, and many more well-known footballers have all proven you don’t need money to have success or the things you want.
You just have to WANT it, one-hundred-percent.
Of course if child two had grown up with his parents complaining about their lack of money, and saying his football was too expensive and he’s not very good, then no, he definitely wouldn’t have a chance; the seed of self-doubt would’ve been planted into his subconscious, fertilizing and growing bigger until it becomes an overgrown weed in the way of beauty.
Nothing in this world stops you from getting exactly what you want, except the ball of self-doubt being thrown in your face!
So find what do you want; think, how am I going to get this, and be committed to tackling any barriers that may get in your way!
If that means cutting ties with people who voice their concerns about your dreams and looking for less-insecure people who are going to motivate you on what it is you want, or worry about, then so be it!
“There can be no growth without risks, and no progress without mistakes.”
I’ve been trying to ‘get better’ for three years now- and the biggest lesson to take from that is everything takes time, patience, and perseverance when trying to progress.
At the beginning of lockdown I was doing well maintaining my routine; making my bed, showering, having breakfast, and walking the dog.
I’d already been out of a job for seven months, so you could say I was warming up for the lockdown I never saw coming.
Friends asked how I was coping, and my response was always, “great, it’s no different from how I was living before, minus the company.”
I was in such a good place I was sure my mental health had suddenly cured and I was back to normal.
Unfortunately, and very unexpectedly at the beginning of the second week, I was hit with some bad news, which meant by the third week my routine had become collateral damage.
- I began feeling guilty because my followers were achieving more in their first week of isolation, then I had since I’d taken up the unemployed Graduate title. – COMPARING YOUR PROGRESS TO OTHERS IS SO UNHEALTHY!
- I got stuck back down to my bed, and felt useless
- I became obsessed with scrolling again- If you scroll more than an hour a day then you should seriously be asking yourself why!
- I DIDN’T FEEL LIKE HAVING A FCKING SHOWER!
- I was drinking twice as much and waking up feeling worse each day
Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve been in a self-loathing state wondering what my life has come to, or where it’s going to go… But this was the first in a while it’d happened, and it hit a little differently.
I was more prepared to move forward from it; more lenient, and understanding. I allowed another week to live in my own toxicity before finally looking at my reflection, and telling her she’s better than this and it was time to move forward.
Every mistake or setback should be used as a lesson, instead of “I tried, but now I give up.”
Some people in life are lucky enough to win the lottery, or get unexpected promotions no colleague saw coming, but being realistic, life isn’t just handing out ‘short-cut’ cards! You don’t just apply to be a boss of a big corporate company and get the job, you must first be the office bitch- running around fetching coffee and filing papers.
Nobody says these times are fun, and in fact you feel humiliated for doing it, but if you want to be the best of the best, it’s an essential part of your journey if your destination is to be in charge one day!
I could’ve easily slept under those covers, drowning in my scent, feeling sorry for what I couldn’t do throughout quarantine, but that was the easy option. I wanted more, and I’d committed to more a long time ago.
As a footballer, if you’d been out for a serious injury for over a year and were finally ready to play again, your coach wouldn’t put you straight back onto the field for the entire 90 minutes. – He may start with 10 minutes each half, and gradually increase your playing time.
My setback meant starting back at the bottom, and looking to change some variables about my life-
Why was I still not happy when I was being productive?
What would make me more happy?
What would help discipline me more?
If my final goal is to be BETTER in life, health and confidence, I knew, and had known for a very long time, I needed to incorporate exercise into my daily life, instead of making it a, ‘if you feel like it,’ kinda thing.
Unfortunately I’m a professional procrastinator, an excellent excuse maker with a very low level of self-discipline. (Everything I have accepted of myself but am working on changing).
We all have our excuses for why we don’t do the things we know we should do- money, time, etc… But once we’ve acknowledged these excuses we can work to improve it.
One of my favourite excuses was trying to give up smoking, and setting the T&C’s as, “I’ll only smoke when I drink.”
At the time I was a student drinking 7 days a week, so how well did that work out for my lungs?
If I truly wanted to give up smoking then, I would’ve tossed my tobacco pouch to the nearest smoker and taken a few days, or weeks, off drinking.
I did neither, in fact all it took was one sip of a pint and I’d be rolling up my first of many cigarettes for the sitting.
At the time I didn’t ever stand a chance of quitting because I didn’t ever highlight my excuses or bother fixing them.
Here’s a short list of my pre-workout thoughts and excuses.
- I haven’t eaten in a couple of hours so it’ll make me feel sick, or I won’t have enough energy
- I’ve showered now so I’ll do it later
- It’s getting late so I’ll do it tomorrow morning
- If I exercise now I’ll feel tired and achy and it might ruin my plans
- If I can’t even get out of bed to shower then how am I supposed to exercise?
As you can see, the majority of my excuses came from my daily routine- and so I started as simple as setting myself the task of showering everyday for a week- even if I didn’t feel like it.
To help, I wrote a note for my BG screen with positive motivation, and set consistent alarms throughout the day, reminding me just how good getting in the shower would be!
The following week I cut all alcohol out, and re-read my Dry January blog just as a reminder of how sober life was more enjoyable for me.
By the third week I was exercising everyday…. And enjoying it!
Understanding your relationship with exercise.
Like everything we religiously do, there’s a reason behind it- if you don’t brush your teeth they’ll go yellow, and if you don’t shower you’ll start getting smelly- There’s no difference when it comes to exercise!
If you don’t see it as a necessity, or even meaningful to you, then you won’t be committed to incorporating it into your daily life, no matter how much you want to!
Without realising my relationship with exercise had changed dramatically at the beginning of Uni. Joining a good sport society meant paying fees I couldn’t afford- on top of my rent, food and a social life. When I did finally join one it was lousy, un-competitive and kind of awkward, so I disengaged and stopped completely.
I had gone from doing a sports & fitness course in college, to being a full time sedentary student, binging on alcohol most nights of the week.
Recently, I stumbled upon the question;
“have you ever thought about why you exercise, and what you love about it…”
I sat for a while, pondering for an answer.
I’ve always loved being active but why, if I loved it as much as I told myself, wasn’t I doing it?
People exercise for all kinds of reasons; for structure, and perseverance it brings into their lives, for better physical appearance and confidence, or all three!
There’s no right or wrong way for why you exercise- but the reason has to be because YOU want to do it, and not because you think you should.
The question I should’ve asked myself a few months ago, when I was finally ready to push myself into a gymkit and sumo squat away my problems was…
What’s really stopping you from regularly exercising, and why are you having trouble prioritising it into your week?
P.e. was my favourite subject in secondary school. I was always excited for a lesson- especially in summer when it was hot and we all got to play rounders!
If I was ever disappointed in a lesson it’s because I either knew, already, I’d been put on a bad team, or we were made to go to the gym and use the equipment.
I’m sure if the teacher wasn’t sat marking, and instead teaching us properly and passionately about using a gym, and why it’s so important, I may have had a different relationship with it.
I used it on and off for a while, but apart from College practicals when we had circuits, structure and discipline I’ve never really loved it!
Working out became a thing I did discreetly, when I was lacking in confidence, or I felt fat, or I’d seen a few ab pictures on my timeline and was determined to get them too.
Essentially I was motivated by under the surface jealousy, and wanting to look and feel as good as they did.
After one or two weeks of exercising, I’d begin feeling confident again and so I stopped working out. I still hadn’t found any enjoyment out of doing the exercises, even though it made me feel good afterwards.
My mind was stubborn and set- it had fulfilled my only purpose, to feel confident, and so quickly I lost engagement again… THE YOYO!
Similarly, if you exercise to impress somebody then by the time you’ve got them, you either have learnt how good it feels to have exercise in your life, or you prioritise time for the guy over exercise, and slowly begin to lose the shape and confidence you’d built up.
Exercising strengthens your mind, and makes you determined.
I grew up liking sport for the competitiveness and fun- not because I knew it made me feel good and helped discipline my mind.
Similarly to showering, I needed to find a personal reason to exercise.
I knew I loved being active, but there were certain barriers that stopped me.
For example; I could go for a long hike, but the idea of jogging around my town was triggering.
It’s like when you know making a home cooked meal is the ONE, but sometimes the effort it takes to make it seems too much, and so you settle for a microwave meal.
You see time as a barrier- make up excuses, and settle for something easier. Unfortunately, the meal isn’t as satisfying as you’d hoped, and to feed off the satisfaction you wanted, you needed to put time and energy into it.
Do any of you guys know of Joshua Patterson, and know what he achieved in five days?
6 MARATHONS!!! – Confined only in his back garden- a tiny little patio. He’s now gone on to run for 24 hours on his same little patio- live streaming so we can see him fatigued but still pushing through.
Fitness bloggers always hone in on good mental health that follows with fitness- but watching physical evidence of a human-being break through mental barriers to finish their goals, truly did inspire and resurrect me back from the dead.
When comparing Josh’s motivation to mine, I knew I’d probably give up after an hour.
And just like that I was hit square in the face with my shame-
I’m almost pushing into my mid twenties and yet I still feel, and look like a nineteen year old girl! (If I don’t get ID’d It’s honestly a shock).
This, combined with every, “you don’t need to workout, you already have a nice body,” comment has meant I believed I was fitter than I actually am.
“No wonder why I hated working out,” I said to myself.
I’d push the shit out of my body in my first few sessions like I was at an advanced level, but died every time.
And when I got to the second week of exercise and I still didn’t have the stamina to keep up with the fitness instructor, I started to shut it out, and procrastinate away from it.
My body wasn’t as young as I, and others perceived it to be. If my attitude continued this way, eventually I’d become the middle aged woman looking at school girls; reminiscing the days “My body looked like that once” …
When I stopped sprinting a marathon; accepted I was out of shape, (even if others didn’t agree), I was able to begin a healthier relationship with exercise!
In other words, I threw out the pouch of tobacco and fully committed to the challenge.
To keep yourself motivated for your long-term goals, you MUST set short-term goals!
Like deciding to drive up to Scotland next week, you have to have a plan set in motion; what snacks you’re going to take, what time you’re going to leave, where you’re going to stay…
This is the same with anything you want.
Plan to be ahead of the game, and prepared for what’s to come.
Setting short and long term goals helps to keep your plans in motion, and keeps you motivated on your journey ahead.
When I was younger and drove long distances with my family, I always remember Exeter services being the final stop before being “two hours from home,” and it was always such a relief.
The same relief I get when the person on my TV says, “last exercise, you can do it!” Suddenly, out of nowhere, my energy and adrenaline doubles and I’m doing burpees quicker than dash off the Incredibles!
For the last month I’ve been exercising for six days a week- and I feel amazing, and positive I will continue this up.
Since I knew I needed some structure and discipline I’ve been following a fitness DVD, XTFMAX, which has multiple levels and a variety of different workouts. Therefore It’s been easy, so far, for me to progress each week with a goal that;
- I WILL finish this fitness programme- (since I’m working on self-discipline)
- I will be able to dominate the cardio (since I hate it/ am bad at it, and it motivates me to do it).
Without fully understanding my excuses, shame and setbacks I’m confident I wouldn’t have been able to get this far into my programme- or felt this good in a long time.
I didn’t care about exercising for my body- I was pretty confident with it already, even though I didn’t have the defined abs or thigh gap we all seem to desperately desire- although if I get them I won’t be complaining!
If you want to get better, and stop feeling sorry for yourself- nothing is stopping you but YOU!
The only person you should be doing things for is YOU.
Stop comparing and start considering what YOU want, instead of what you think others want!
If you’re motivated to lose weight based on constant comparisons to others, then no matter how much weight you lose, you will never truly be happy!
It’s like working overtime just to spend a fortune on branded clothes because you think it makes you more attractive.
You’ll never feel attractive for long.
Clothes wear down; go out of fashion and lose their value.
There’s always going to be someone with more expensive, better things than you, just like there’s always going to be people with better bodies than you.
Stop working hard just to please others and focus on working for things that’ll make you happy!
Think back to that time you really wanted the thing you worked hard to get…
It felt SO DAMN good right?
Opening that big white envelope and discovering those long sleepless nights you worked your arse off studying weren’t a waste of time, and you had successfully made it into the Uni of your dreams.
No it definitely wasn’t easy, but as I said, nothing of value to you ever is.
And aren’t these tough times worth tackling through to get what you deserve, over the guilt you’ll feel for not ever giving it a go?
Which is why I’ve shared this with you- to let you know that if you really want something then all you have to do is stop imagining it when you’re lying in bed, and actually get up and go get it!