As she talked, it became clear that her lifelong struggle with consistency was still going strong. What was going on, I asked. She shook her head and went on about how great she felt when she got her medal for the Clear Rock 100 Mile Challenge. Remember that one? That was fun. And how great she felt when she got her first and only half marathon medal.
I kept pressing. What was it about those challenges that made consistency possible for you, but when they ended, so did your exercise? Her answer was profound. In fact, I said, "Wait! I need to write that down!"
She said when she was signed up for a challenge, the choice was no longer whether to walk or not. It was WHEN.
It was WHEN.
I felt my mind shift as soon as she said that. I hate days where I battle about whether to work out. Should I? Can I fit it in? Will I have time? Will I feel like it? Will I be tired? Will I need a shower? Will I? Will I?
What would happen if I no longer allowed the IF.
What would happen if I only wrestled with WHEN.
Will I exercise early in the morning, before work and all the business of the day? Will I grab 30 minutes at lunch? After work? After dinner? When works best today?
Not if, WHEN.
I've been getting such cool feedback from those of you participating in our current challenge. I hear things like, I feel so good doing something every day. I feel like I'm getting back to myself finally. I love that!
Then I received this:
"You got my brain thinking last night when you asked me what my reasons are for doing this challenge. I've always been a care taker, perhaps an enabler taking care of everyone. For the first time in my life, I get to take care of me, do what I want!! I can vividly remember just a few short years ago sitting on the couch ALL the TIME, eating crap when I wasn't hungry just to feed an emotion (lots of them). I can remember being an unhappy person but trying not to come across as one. I really didn't like me, I was filled with anger, envy of others and self pity. I saw me heading down the same paths as my unhealthy parents. I can remember cleaning and painting for a graduation party thinking I must have rotator cuff issues because my shoulders hurt so bad. Then I started lifting. I just wanted my arms to be strong and not hurt. I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids. I wanted to lose weight. All that has shifted slightly. I still want to keep up with the kids, but I feel good about that now. My arms hurt less and are getting stronger. And I finally let go of the weight loss thing. I've battled with my PCP about it. She keeps saying keep doing what you're doing, I don't care about the weight, I'm loving what I see on paper, the labs are improving. That step in the door to go to your seminar was life changing for me and a really big step. I was full of fear that I couldn't do anything and sure as hell didn't want to talk to someone about it. I amaze myself now. I'm capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for and I kind of like that! I don't need for anyone's approval. I'm still a work in progress but I'm OK with that too. So much happier, so much stronger and I love KNOWING I can do this."
Not if, WHEN.
Haven't we all been that person sitting on the couch, checked out of life? Afraid, angry, envious of others. I know I have, and I felt so defeated.
Here's what I know, from my own journey and from talking to women like these.
Change is possible and it is never, ever too late. Consistent exercise is absolutely doable and it can lead to more joy, empowerment, self-esteem and arm strength than you ever thought possible!
Thinking about consistency and accountability, I looked at some stats for gyms and this is what I found:
- 80% of people who join a gym in January quit within five months
- Women drop out at twice the rate as men
- Only 18% of people who buy a gym membership use it consistently
- Only half the people who buy a gym membership use it AT ALL
- People who pay less for a membership are less likely to go
- The average gym member is 40 years old
- Over 50 million people in the U.S. have gym memberships
- Over $25 billion dollars are made off people NOT attending the gym they belong to
My goal is to be the opposite of this. I want 100% attendance. I want women dancing in the streets because they feel so damn good about themselves. I want us all to overcome this drop-out gym culture and do our thing. Together!
It comes down to that moment of choice, and remembering who you are.
Are you deciding if/whether to use your sessions, or when to use your sessions?
The lower self says what difference does it make if I go today. I feel anxious and crappy. What's the point.
The highest self says I remember why I signed up for this in the first place. I want something different for myself. I want to get up off the couch. I want strong arms. I want to be done with this anxiety. I want to feel good about myself. I want that medal.
Your highest self already knows what to do. You just have to get there. Connect. Breathe. Pray. Sing. Elevate up. Arise to the best you and I am certain you will not longer be fretting over whether you are going to move your body, you will be too busy figuring out WHEN.