“Whatever it is, make it your own.” – James Clear
Last week I wrote about my discovery of my true bliss in Ignition…Check! My bliss also includes my love of exercise. Exercise is, and will forever be, a part of my bliss, if not my true BLISS!
You may ask yourself: “Why don’t I exercise? Why don’t I do things to live a healthier life? Why don’t I wake up earlier? Why don’t I visit that friend? Why Don’t I!? Why why why?” Those questions all sound very limiting and discouraging.
Reframe style: Instead of Why DON’T you? How about focusing on the Do’s! First focus on what you DO DO. Not doo-doo…Do Do! And not in question form. Therefore: I do take walks. I do desire to exercise more. Or…if you really can’t commit to that statement, how about: “I DO want to live a healthier life, therefore, I want to DO what I can to get there.”
Let’s look at this from a step by step process, or a way to outline some questions to ask yourself…
Step 1: What do I DO, already?! I walk my dog. I am aware that I want to be in better shape. I understand that it takes effort on my part.
Step 2: What do I want to do and aren’t doing quite yet? I want to start exercising more regularly.
Step 3: Identify a small path to get there? I will workout 3 times a week for 20 minutes. I will invite a friend to join me.
Step 4: Focus on the feeling you want to have once you have accomplished your DO. I will feel energized. I will feel strong. I will feel accomplished. I will feel sexy, confident!
Exercise is a powerful tool that our brains, bodies, and I believe, spirit, longs for! From the bilateral stimulation of our brain, to the brilliant way our bodies use simple movements to handle stress, exercise is a gift. From the beautiful benefits of confidence to improving the oxygenation of our blood while it perfectly travels through our body, exercise is of enormous value.
What is exercise? By definition: Exercise is “a particular movement or series of movements done to become stronger and healthier.”
Flip the definition around and it becomes more enticing: “To become strong and healthier, I will perform a particular movement…or I will exercise.” Starting our life mantras out positively engages us more than starting our life mantras off with something that seems like work, something that takes effort. To become stronger, I will do, I will exude, I will practice…(fill in the blank)
While discussing the attributes of exercise with a strong man a few weeks ago, (Thank you LS) I discovered what it is about exercise that I love, that I long for, that I am addicted to and possibly what others witness in my workouts:
I love feeling my focus. I love getting in my zone. This zone where no one else is. Where I am truly connected to my self and becoming stronger! A place I get to revisit daily in order to connect with my physical body. Where I am able to kick my ass over and over again; walking away, with shaky quads and/or weakened pectorals with an increase in strength simultaneously. Exercise is a beautiful equilibrium of weakness and strength.
While running triathlons, a great friend of mine (BRP) would repeat: “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Utilizing this statement as a source of power in the midst of his exhaustion. Thereby, finding the beauty and balance of two opposing forces in order to perpetuate his endurance. Rad.
How do we become strong? First, you must identify your definition of strong. How does strength show up in your life? Generally speaking, in order to become strong, we allow ourselves to experience the pain of growth, or the discomfort of stretching our muscles to a point of exhaustion. Thereby, experiencing the amazement of building YOUR STRENGTH, and bettering your body. Your muscles will not be taught to get bigger, leaner, stronger, or more defined, without experiencing the, at times, torturous, development that comes through movement.
Little side note…I still believe, and will always teach, that everything begins with BREATH. Strength starts with breath. Gaining muscle starts with breath. All our movements start with breath! I discuss this valuable tool in a previous blog titled: “How to Kick Ass in One Easy Step” Check it!
During my first MFT licensing exam, which was one of the biggest challenges of my life, I was taught to push through the discomfort. When you feel uneasy and uncomfortable in the thought of not passing, or not knowing the answer: Push through that discomfort. Move forward. Don’t stop and waste a bunch of time, pointless time, to stress about what may not happen.
When you feel like quitting your set because your muscles are exhausted…finish one more. When you don’t want to get your butt out of bed to work out…push through! I tell my clients: When you don’t want to walk the 130 steps back up from the bottom of Stone Steps (a beautiful exercise spot near my home), WALK BACK DOWN! Then you HAVE to come up. You HAVE to push through the pain, to gain YOUR strength.
This is Jack. He is 90-years-old and walks the convention stairs 12 times a day for a total of 1200 steps! I did this workout the two days prior to my licensing exam. I was blessed to have experienced this amazing athlete and his stamina, desire for strength and an over-all love of fitness and health. Thank you Jack! My inspiration for strength!
Because this topic is my true passion, I will expand on exercise over the next few weeks. From exercising physically to mentally and with many other twists and turns…let’s explore the amazing dynamics of exercise.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day your realized why.” –Mark Twain