When you close your eyes and imagine what life looks like once you’ve reached your goal weight, chances are you don’t think to yourself…
“Thank God there’s less gravitational attraction between the Earth and myself.”.
When you picture what your life will be like once you’ve hit that new squat PR or Rx’d that WOD, chances are you don’t think to yourself….
“Whew, it’s great to know I’m covered in case a 315 lb. log falls onto my back.”
When you close your eyes, and envision life after you’ve reached whatever goal it is that you’ve set for yourself, you see more than digits on a scale, plates on a bar, or minutes on a white board.
You see a better life.
You see yourself no longer uncomfortable in your own skin.
You see yourself no longer keeping your body hidden from the world.
You see yourself no longer embarrassed and isolated from those you love and who love you in return.
You see yourself eating and moving with clarity that your efforts are in alignment with your goals.
You see yourself confident enough to go after that promotion, that new job, or that first date.
You yourself disciplined enough to consistently work towards and maintain a lean, strong, healthy physique – or any goal in life.
You see yourself aging gracefully, without dependence on medications or machines.
You see yourself free to live your life without physical limitation, pain, or injury.
The truth is, you don’t want to lose weight, you don’t want to build muscle, and you don’t want a different body.
You want different emotions.
You want different thoughts.
You want different experiences.
You want a different life.
These are your goals.
These are the outcomes you write down and pin to your wall.
These are the affirmations you repeat in your journal every morning.
Sure, you’ll see practical benefit from the physical changes you produce.
After all, our bodies are the vessels through which we experience the world, and the condition of the vessel shapes the quality of that experience .
But really these physical changes are only manifestations of an inner transformation that we’re really after.
This inner transformation is not to be taken lightly.
When the rubber meets the road, change of this magnitude can be more of a challenge than most of us anticipate.
It’s not just about struggling through a diet or white-knuckling it to the gym a few times a week.
It’s not just about changing our eating habits.
It’s not just about establishing a movement practice.
It’s not just about sleeping longer or meditating.
These strategies work on their own for the short term, but if we’re looking for long-term change, we’re going to be asked to do more.
You see, you aren’t lean, strong, and healthy because YOU aren’t lean, strong, and healthy.
You don’t think the same thoughts, feel the same emotions, take the same actions, or live the same life as the lean, strong, and healthy person you want to become.
You’ll need to dig deep, and rewire the thought, emotion, and behavior patterns that pull you so strongly back towards the habits that we want to change.
You’ll need to come face-to-face with the possibility that you may have to let go of certain aspects of who you once were.
To create the long term change that you want and deserve, you may need to let go of many of your self-perceptions, challenge your self-beliefs, and face the inevitable trial, error, and failure that comes with the unknown territory of learning the skills required to create the life you’re looking for.
Old habits, identities, relationships, excuses, hobbies, and crutches that no longer serve you may no longer have a place in your new life.
This idea of letting go might concern you at first – particularly with respect to relationships – but those that are worth keeping around will those that support your efforts and fit just fine (even if a bit differently) in your new life.
You see, this physical transformation – health, fitness – it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Fitness is much more than getting jacked, lean, strong, or healthy.
Fitness is more than looking good naked and living a long time.
Fitness is a gateway drug to a better life.
And it’s a powerful damn drug if you’re ready for it.
We’ll talk more in future posts about goal setting, and how to reconcile the tangible benefits of outward physical change with the necessity of laying a foundation of inner change.
For now, though, you might ask yourself a few questions:
“Am I ready to challenge my perceptions of who I am?”
“Am I ready to let go of the old me to make way for the new me?”
“Am I ready to focus on the inner change that creates the outer change?”
“What inner changes, emotions, thoughts, and experiences have I been putting off under the false idea that they’re dependent on outer change?”
These are all questions you may need to ask yourself before setting any goals or embarking on any effort to change your body – and that last question is a biggie.
Until next time, have a most excellent day!