This is week two an impromptu fitness series! Welcome.
This is kind of taking a chance but I want to ask you to do something that’s probably new for you. I hope you’ll trust me. Take a minute to think and dream about your ideal physical self. Imagine what your body will look like when you achieve your ultimate physical health goals. How will you feel? What will you be able to do? What clothes will you wear? Will you be more confident? Flirt more? Play with your kids and run faster than they do? Try all sorts of new things?
Only you know the version of your body that will make you the happiest and most fulfilled, so I challenge you to take a minute and decide what that will look like. If you haven’t ever done this, or it feels kind of weird, trust me, it will be incredible 😉
Store that little beauty in your mind’s eye.
A few years ago, I read a book called “The Slight Edge”, by Jeff Olson. It was highly recommended so I read it as my first official “Personal Development Book”. In it lies a brilliant and simplistic theory called The Slight Edge. It says that:
Everything you do in your daily life, whether huge or seemingly insignificant either moves you to your ultimate success or contributes to your ultimate failure.
Think of your life as a horizontal line and every decision that you make creates another little segment of the line, either
climbing- toward your ideal body, financial freedom, amazing relationship, contented happy self, life as you dream it could be;
falling- toward the worst life you could imagine, unhappy in your own skin, self-conscious, broke, lonely, with no sense of value.
When I first read this, it sounded a little extreme. To think that one “cheat day” or one day when you decide not to go to the gym because you just don’t feel like it, maybe a week of thinking that this whole “working out thing” isn’t really working out so what’s the point, is going to turn you into a vegetative couch creature whose diet consists solely of cheese products from a can and desserts with sprinkles, sounds a little ridiculous. They’re just tiny decisions! And what about neutral days?!
The neutral choices argument was easily addressed. It’s usually pretty clear whether a choice is in line with the amazing goal you have for yourself or not. I can tell without issue whether binge watching Friends and eating everything in my kitchen is going to help me be a successful ’empowerer’ who feels confident when taking to the slopes this winter, or not. If I can tell whether or not something will help or hurt my journey to a beautiful and healthy me, I can’t really say that it’s “neutral” and not affecting me.
If there have been more banana splits and sitcoms in your life than banana protein shakes and sit-ups, please don’t get discouraged! If you imagine the little decisions that you have been making and they all seem to be climbing you down into despair, take heart! There is a huge and liberating power in this life truth, if you are open to it. It took me the whole book, which let’s be honest, was probably a month or two, to start to see the absolute power in this.
Some days it feels like things are spiraling away from any fitness goal you once had. I’ve had those days. The jeans won’t button anymore. I sprouted another back bulge, just when I thought I had found all the little spots where the cupcakes were being stored on my body… Getting winded going up the stairs. Some punk kid asks if you’re pregnant. Even on those days, when “fitness” and “health” and “clothes that fit” seem just so far out of reach, all it takes to get to the ultimate You that you envisioned is a series of tiny decisions, consistently made over time.
I spent years of my life not understanding this. I would run five miles then eat a veggie burger and fries for lunch followed by cookies and a doughnut and a “rest day” the next day and wonder why I wasn’t making progress. It sounds ridiculous, but dang. It sucked at the time. I honestly felt like I was doing such good things! And I was, some of the time, followed by a whole lot of crazy things. What I couldn’t quite grasp was this simple idea of constantly and consistently making choices based on my goals. Eating an apple instead of a Little Debbie pie. Working out for 20 minutes every day instead of an hour and a half a couple of times a week. Making myself a salad instead of a bowl of popcorn when I got hungry.
Sure, sometimes the healthiest and best and most fulfilling thing will be to have the sundae! Take the day off! Read the cheap and fluffy fashion magazine!
But do those things with intention.
Decide that today, at this party, I will have a cupcake in celebration with my friends. Next week, at the beach, I will read this silly, gossipy fashion magazine because I know that I have stored enough positive self-image the rest of the month that I can handle and enjoy it. Choose that today, I will lounge by the pool with my girlfriends, because I have worked out every day this month and this is a special time to share with them.
Here is the most fabulous and most exciting part of this truth and philosophy. When you consistently make little choices for health over illness and disease, it gets easier. The more time you spend thinking about what you’re working for and making choices that will take you there, the easier it will be to decide against that thing that will move you in the other direction. Every time you make a positive decision it gets easier to make more of them! Choosing healthful foods, making time to work out, feeling confident and happy in your body are all things that can become as natural to you as breathing. No, it won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen this week. Heck, I’ve been trying to implement this for years and when I passed up buy two get two free Ben and Jerry’s yesterday when there were three new flavors crying my name, I felt tangible pain. But I made that decision to choose my ultimate health and goals over a sugar rush. And you know what? After saying no to that, it was so much easier to say no to the apple fritters, the tubs of cookies, beautifully glazed chocolate doughnuts, essentially the entire freaking baked goods section.
And so, dear heart, I encourage you to think again of that beautiful, powerful, fulfilled and healthy version of you and think about what they did to get there. They only made tiny little steps, every day as best as they could. Some days it didn’t happen, but they kept going in self-forgiveness and love. They didn’t do it all at once, in one week, with no challenge at all. They did it just like you are doing it. Day by day, decision after decision. Yes, to the walk. No, to the third piece of pizza. No, to the thoughts that they aren’t good enough. Yes, to the edifying thoughts about their work. They did it in every little choice. Just like you ❤