It seems that being a mediocre and reluctant athlete was one of the best things that could have happened to me, since once again I'm sharing how that experience has taught me an important life lesson!
As a high school athlete I remember showing up to track meets wanting to have a good race, warning a PR (personal record), wanting to beat my competition.
At that moment in time I wanted it so badly.
But it’s interesting, I can see now that I didn’t actually want it badly enough to practice and train day in and day out for my desired results.
I hated running, avoided workouts, was relieved/happy when I was too sick or sore to train.
I have distinct memories of hiding in the chapel during warm-up for just the right amount time so that my coach thought that we were actually off running.
At track meets (and sometimes in practice),I was all about the results and the thrill of victory, but either hadn’t made the connection between hard work OR if I was honest with myself, the victory just wasn’t important ENOUGH for me to put the time in.
I wanted to be good when the spotlight was on me, but I didn’t care to be disciplined when no one was watching.
Looking back I see now that I had 3 choices:
1. Reach out to my coaches or teammates and ask them to help me to get more disciplined in practice, help me improve.
2. Quit the track team.
3. Remain on the team just for fun and camaraderie and accept with the fact that when others were succeeding and having victories (and I wasn’t) it was because they were hunkering down.
That was it.
There was no option to NOT be disciplined and still get results.
If I wanted to be different or look different on the track, I would have to be different in training.
I mean, how could I suddenly be faster and more agile on race day if I wasn’t routinely training my body to get there?
And winning or at least doing my personal best was the MOST important thing, right?
Now I know that living this experience and learning the lessonthat I’m sharing with you todaywas actually MORE important than all the first place medals I could have every earned.
So looking back, what I would tell my high school self now?
"It’s ok not to be the best. "
"If winning isn’t important enough to you to hunker down and do the work, that ok."
"Maybe it’s not the time for that!"
"Maybe you should just focus on having fun and making friends."
"It’s ok that your teenage existence is so uncomfortable that you don’t really have gas in the tank to work harder or a willingness to be uncomfortable on the track too."
So why am I sharing all of this with you?
Because I think it’s the same thing with weight loss and fitness.
For starters, like me you might think that “winning” is everything.
Many of you were handed the goal of weight loss at a young age possibly from yourself, but mostly by adults, peers, or society.
And perhaps you feel the pressure to always be losing or to finally get to that certain weight.
In the same way that I thought winning was paramount, you might think that seeing those numbers on the scale drop is the most important thing, EVEN if you hate the process, even if you are busy and uncomfortable in your life right now, even if you just don’t have the desire to get disciplined about your fat loss.
If that’s the case, thenI want to tell you that just like I did, you have 3 choices.
1. Reach out for help, accountability, encouragement
2. LET this goal go (for now)
3. Keep doing what you’re doing, remain on the team, keep going to the gym, stay active keep up with your fitness practices and focus on having fun and making friends without constantly stressing about scale results
And what’s kind of cool is that you can sort of do all three things at once, if you want.
If you’re tired for constantly feeling like you need to lose weight, shelve that goal for a little while!
You can ask for help, shift your focus away from the scale AND find the joy in movement .
Or if upon reflection you realize that fat-loss is too important to you to let go for now, then you can get more disciplined, and I would definitely recommend that you reach out for help in that, since there’s LOTS of misinformation in the fitness and exercise world not this point….
But I will tell you this, if like me on the track team, what you are doing currently isn’t working, then it’s not suddenly going to work some day.
You’ll have to do some reflection.
You’ll have to determine what’s MOST IMPORTANT to you!
You’ll have to change your tack a bit and it is absolutely 100% ok to shelve this goal for now if you want to.
Sometimes we live so long with this crushing pressure to be different that we forget that we can just say no.
Or that we can take a break from that goal.
We can rest a bit.
That’s not a form of quitting.
Or sometimes, as was the case with me and running, we need to change the relationship that we have with our goal.
We need to find develop a new version of the goal ourself.
I’ll tell you what, when I graduated from high school people kept encouraging me to sign up for track in college.
Everyone said, “you’ll get better in college” or “Getting involved with sports is a good way to make friends”
But when high school was over I was SOOOO relieved to give up that pressure.
“No more feeling like I don’t measure up.
”No more pressure to run.”
“No more disappointment.”
And you know what after 3 years of no running, I eventually got back into it and learned to LOVE aspects of it.
But it was because I came at it from a new perspective.
I gave myself a break from that constant feeling that wasn’t fast enough and it took 3 full years to even consider getting back into the habit of running.
But when I did it. I was doing it in a way that made me feel good.
So today I want to remind you that it’s ok to let go of goals that don’t feel right in their current form.
And if you are frustrated with a lack of progress, and want to continue in pursuit of your goal, then reach out for help, support, encouragement.
Those pretty much your options.
Victories and wins are a result of work and discipline.
Personally, I find that I’m more consistent with work and discipline when I have structure, support and accountability, so get that!