I was in a health class and we were discussing giving up certain things that are bad for you, trying to eat right, exercising regularly, etc. and someone said, “You’re an anomaly, April. You have more will power than most people.” That shocked me. I didn’t know people thought that about me. Honestly, I swear, I don’t have more or better will power than the next person. I hate being uncomfortable as much as the next person. I love eating just as much as the next person. I have addiction problems with food, caffeine, nicotine, etc. I’ve had to break those addictions and I have to be careful not to get addicted to alcohol and other drugs. I am as lazy as the next person. I have goals that I want to accomplish and I do what I can, but I fight laziness like everyone else. If I were as good and perfect as they believe I am, I wouldn’t have ever had to deal with these issues in the first place.
I realize that it may look like I’m doing great, and somedays I am but somedays I am not. Everyday is a struggle. I’m not sure what makes me keep going and keeps me moving forward. I know my “fight style”. I think that helps me move in the right direction but I still struggle with everything. I don’t want you to look at my posts and my Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and think, “She just has it so easy. If I had her will power, I wouldn’t have any problems, either.”
I will try to explain what my “fight style” is and maybe that can help you figure out what your style is. Then, when you need motivation, you can pull from that.
This morning, on the treadmill, I didn’t want to be there. It was cold outside, my legs were stiff, my ankles were sore, I was cold myself and barely awake. I told myself to walk 5 minutes and then, if I’m done, I’m done. I can go home. After 5 minutes, I was warmed up and not as stiff and not as cranky, so I told myself, I could go home after I jog 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I was going pretty good and thought, “I can do 5 more. Just 5 more and I can go home.” I continued to bargain with myself until I ran 20 minutes and cooled down for 5 more. All in all, I did my 30 minutes.
I got my coffee on the way home and I felt better for it. (One thing I promise myself is that if I go to the gym, I get coffee on the way home. It’s a HUGE motivator for me.)
My “fight style” is that I’m a goal oriented person who needs clear objectives to accomplish something. I need to know exactly what I’m in for and for how long and what the pay off is. I cannot and will not participate in something that is vague and open ended. I need a reward for my work and I have learned to give myself that for everything I do. My reward for showing up and doing 5 minutes was to go home after only 5 minutes. Of course, had I not felt like doing it, I would have gotten off that treadmill and gone home and not felt a lick of guilt about it. I’ve done it before and I’ll most likely do it again in the future.
Take for example my PE classes I’m taking at PCC. My teachers and my classmates can totally attest to the fact that I am always the last one finishing. Not only am I goal oriented, I refuse to hurt, inconvenience or make myself uncomfortable. You can cheer me all day long and if I don’t want to go any faster, I won’t. This even applies to work, home, socializing, etc. I will get there when I get there. I will complete it. I will complete it WELL. I will give it 110% of everything I have but I will do it in my own time. Over the years, I’ve found that if I try too hard and push too fast, I inevitably wipe-out and end up hurting myself (I mean this figuratively and physically, depending on what I’m doing).
The thing about me is that I don’t stop. I may be slow, but I don’t stop. It’s like the adage that if you’re moving, you’re faster than the people on the couch. And I am. I started this health and fitness process in March 2016 by doing the Couch to 5K program app on my phone. I walked at 2.5 mph and I “jogged” at 3.0 mph. Later, I redid the program and I walked at 3.0 mph and I now “jog” at 4.0 mph. My new year’s goal is to do it again. I will jog at 4.0 mph and I will increase that speed to a 4.5 or 5.0 mph run. If I can’t complete a day, I walk the rest of that day’s program and I try it again on the next run until I complete it. Both times I’ve done the program, it took me 14-16 weeks to complete the 9-week program because if I wasn’t able to complete it, I redid the days or weeks in the program until I was able to complete it.
On days when I just am dying for sweets, I tell myself that if I wait 30 minutes and still want it, I can have it. I have had that sweet in the past but as time has gone on, I’ve not wanted it after 30 minutes. On days when I don’t want to exercise, I tell my self to do 5 minutes because 5 minutes is better than nothing. If I want to stop, I stop but I do this everyday. Everyday, I make deals with myself and inch ever further forward.
Damon once delicately stated that I keep moving because if I stop, chaos will take over. He’s right. I keep moving and I keep the chaos behind me.
So, what’s your “fight style”? Are you a wrecking ball that comes in and destroys things and creates new things from the pieces? Are you a planner that makes lists of lists you need to make so you can plan the pre-planning phase of the project? Are you truly a procrastinator (don’t confuse this with being lazy) who waits to the last minute and comes in and dazzles everyone with your ability to multi-task and do things last minute? Are you goal oriented? Are you reward oriented?
Figure out what you need. You have to be honest with yourself. That’s the hardest part. Once you can be honest with what kind of person you are, you can begin to make your way around your own road blocks. Because, honestly, that’s all it is in the end…our own road blocks we put in front of ourselves. You may have to climb them, go around them, go under them, or plow through them like a bull but you have to do it. Figure out what you can do and do it. Just don’t stop. Keep moving.