Who's the person that inspires you the most? Hint: if you say anyone other than you it's the wrong answer. Others may motivate us, support us, raise us, and guide us, but ultimately we're the ones who inspire ourselves to do the things we thought we couldn't do or be the person we thought we'd never be again.
This is a personal philosophy of mine that I have passed on to clients, friends, and strangers seeking my advice about their personal fitness and health goals. One thing I've learned over the years is that even though others push us to be better, it's the change we see in ourselves that inspires us to go the distance. The New Year's Resolutioners understand this all too well. The number one reason why folks give up on their health and fitness goals every year is that they don't see the change they thought they'd see in a roughly short amount of time.
I bring all of this up now because of the season we're in. Summer is practically here. Memorial Day weekend marks the coming of summer. The time when a plethora of men and women scramble around to get themselves ready for the beach, ready to walk around shirtless or with t-shirts and shorts. Many will fall short of the summer bod goals though, and like the yearly procrastinator, just put off their goals till another season or another year.
So how does one find the inspiration in themselves to proceed further and not give up? For this I can only provide my own experience. First, treat each day as a new day. Understand that change takes time. Even if you're an obsessive person, you will understand the importance of patience. Second, when walking a path of change always look forward, do not look sideways. Nothing will distract us more than worrying about how Tom and Jane lost those 20 pounds or how Maryann suddenly looks so youthful, or why Dave ironically hasn't changed a bit in 20 years. None of that is your concern when you're traveling your own path of change and evolution. It's just distracting and ultimately defeating when you're constantly measuring your own successes with those of others.
I've had this talk with many over the years, including my own clients. It always astonishes me how efficient the change in a person happens when he or she remains focused, vigilant, self-empowered, and disconnected to the successes of others around them. To reign this philosophy home I included some journal photos, or "Before and After" if you prefer, of two of my clients, who not only listened to my advice, but specifically took it to heart.
Changing our eating habits, physical activity, and lifestyle is challenging, but never impossible. Every big step begins with a small one, and it's these small steps that take us over the finish line of any goal we set for ourselves. It's the small steps that help us savor the sweet moments of victory each time we see a difference in ourselves or feel better than we have in years. It reminds us that we're human, but not weak, and certainly not defeated. Be inspired to understand your own power.
Page 2 of 2 - Michael Shaw is the owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, and a model coach and agent. He can be reached at www.michaelroyshaw.com.