Many of my friends say to me, "Hey, Amber, How do you get so fit?" And I say, "Yes, I am awesome, am I not?" (Did you ever notice that there's no way to contract this for singular? "Aren't I" is technically ungrammatical and "Amn't I" sounds funny. Nerd alert.)
Back to the point, God perhaps did bless me with some natural tendencies that make working out easier. Not easy, but perhaps easier. For example, my body inexplicably wants to wake up bright and early every day, I get a kick out of muscles, and I am a perfectionist/disciplianarian.
(As a side note, I was not endowed with natural tendencies that make eating healthy easier. I want to eat everything all the time. I just don't.)
Are these inclinations enough to have tipped the scale so that I'm fit while others are not? I don't think so. It's the decisions I make every day that make me fit. So, though you haven't asked for it, I have channeled my inner Jillian to bring you my Patented Feel-Good Fun-Time Workout Solution: What I've Learned About Getting and Staying Fit.
First, I'll start with the easy (and ultimately less important) things:
- When you wake up in the morning to work out, splash freezing cold water on your face immediately. It's suprisingly effective at waking you up. (So is having a bladder the size of a pea that wakes you up each morning.)
- Write down your plan, then do it. Period. For eating and exercise, make a plan, nay, a contract with yourself, and carefully track in writing what you do. Health doesn't just happen accidentally. You have to plan for it.
- Set a very specific goal with a time limit, then deliberately focus on that point each day. Give yourself incentives, such as a 5K, a new dress, or "after" pictures.
Now for the real magic behind my patented plan. I stole it from Yoda, but it really is my secret:
Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.
I always thought this was a little unfair of Yoda, as Luke really wasn't sure whether or not he could lift a space ship with his brain. But it is very applicable to fitness. Though we don't know whether we can lift a space ship with our mind, we do know that we are physically capable of waking up at 6 a.m. (by whatever means it takes) and going for a walk.
Again: Do or Do Not. There Is No Try.
Never say, "I'm going to try to work out more." Either you're going to do it or you're not going to do it. When we speak in these terms, it reveals our mindset: that we are not the controllers of our fate - that we are victims of chance, blown along by the wind like the feather in Forrest Gump. If you haven't commited to following through, you're probably going to get blown away.
YOU ARE NOT A FEATHER.
Not in this area. There are many circumstances in life that we cannot control. But what you do with your health is not one of those areas. Things don't just happen to your health (in terms of eating and exercise). Everything that happens is a choice that you make.
Again: What happens to your health is your choice.
There are lots of excuses for not being able to exercise or eat healthy. Many of them are legitimate excuses. Injuries, babies, busy schedules, or age. They are good excuses; they may provide a good reason for you to be excused for a season. But they do not control you. You still make the choice of how to live, either because of them or in spite of them.
We can see this in the numerous people who face difficulties but have still made the choice to be healthy. My friend who is a single mother of two, working a demanding full-time job, who still wakes up every day to run 8 miles. The man with a prosthetic leg who finished the Courage Classic far before me. The 75-year-old woman who hiked Pikes Peak behind me, who hikes a different 14er every month, despite the fact that her husband is now bedridden and she hikes at approximately .o1 miles per hour.
Own your choices. Take responsibility for them. Because, ultimately, it is a matter of taking responsibility. Reasons can be good, excuses can be valid. But we often fall into a victim mentality - thinking that we are victims of and slaves to our circumstances. You are only a victim and slave to your own mind.
Recognize that you are making choices based on reasons. You are not being controlled by your circumstances. You are making choices. If you decide not to exercise because you have a baby under one-year-old, that's fine, but own it as a choice.
Don't say, "Oh, I can't exercise because everything's just too busy and I just can't do everything."
Say, "I choose not to exercise right now because I am too busy."
When you choose it, rather than playing victim to it, you won't feel the subsequent guilt when you don't go for that morning run. You can know with confidence that it is what you chose for yourself, based on your current circumstances. You're making the decisions that make sense for your life right now.
No Free Passes
If you do want to make a change, despite whatever difficulties you may be facing, don't play the "try" game. I'm going to be blasted for saying this, but you don't need supernatural intervention. I remember in college hearing people asking for prayer that God would enable them to not be tempted sexually. Sorry, honey, you're going to be tempted. God allows physics. He created the natural world to run in a particular way, and he's not going to change that to make life easier on you. Girls are hot, and sitting feels better than running. That's not going to change.
In most cases, God doesn't make hard things easier on us. He asks us to make the right choice even when it's hard. Don't ask God to make it easier for you, because it allows the possibility of making the wrong choice based on your feelings. Make the right choice. Either do or do not. There is no try.
One of the best things I was ever told was this: Grow up.
Mireille Guiliano wrote this in regards to eating in French Women Don't Get Fat. I needed to hear this. I wanted to coddle myself and nurse how unfair it is that I want to eat more than my body needs. And Mireille told me to grow up. I had to take responsibility; it is my choice whether I eat right or gain weight. Moaning wouldn't make it any better; it was time for me to face facts like an adult. It has made all the difference.
One Choice, Daily Decisions
Ultimately, you make your choice once about how you are going to live. Then each day you make subsequent decisions that either support that choice or tear it down. My method: Don't allow for any other choice. I allow no other voice to enter my head. Each day, I've already made my decision, and I'm merely following through on it.