Making a New Year's resolution is one thing. Keeping it, as you are all well aware, is an entirely different spin class. Does it feel like seven days or seven years since New Year's Day? This week at my gym, not one person has arrived in the group fitness studio while exclaiming their excitement and enthusiasm, "Yay! I'm at the gym now!" Instead, students solemnly enter, swipe their card, give a serious nod to the front desk staff, pivot robotically and head to the aerobic task at hand.
But the locker rooms have a totally different vibe. They are perfect for listening. This week, I got a gratifying earful. What did I hear? Comments like, "I am SO glad to get back in my routine!" and, "That felt so great to get a workout in!" as well as, "Man, that was hard but I feel so much better now."
We should always try to focus on how we will feel afterwards, not on the dread we feel prior to working out. When you finish exercising, you won't be the same. Exercise not only changes how we feel about ourselves, but it also boosts our confidence and makes us more effective as we go about the rest of our day.
Ask anyone who's lost a bunch of weight and they will tell you that they went from being invisible to being noticed, from being overlooked to being taken seriously; to being more of whom they were meant to be; to being half full in all areas of their life rather than half empty.
Improving the fitness level of our outer body helps us get feel better and this leads to deeper, more invisible improvements in our life. When you accomplish something that has a physical result, like losing weight, it changes all of you.
You begin to consider that other, less visible changes, like switching jobs or making more money, might be possible. Unfortunately, most of us are resigned to half-empty-glass self talk like, "I'll ever be thin, that's just the way I'm build," or "All the women on my side of the family are big." Or, "I have a sluggish metabolism."
Mostly these are excuses for not changing. It's easier to say yes to that cheesecake right now than to say no for a goal that might be a few months away.
But if you can get yourself to the gym and feel how it feels after, then you can remind yourself that each day of letting that half empty feeling dominate gets you one day closer to leading a half empty life. Is that what you want at the end of it all? To know you settled?
And more importantly the opposite is true. Each day of making positive physical changes will trickle into years, then decades, of being the more complete you, not only physically, but also in all other areas of your life. Otherwise, days turn into years, the years into decades and before you know it, you're James Gandolfini.
How do we become more successful and more productive? Exercise.
Start with the outside changes and in the trickle-down theory your life will get better. You will look in the mirror and not only see it on the outside but you'll feel it on the inside. Controlling your body will help you improve all other areas of your life.
Of course, you could always wait for the diagnosis. Or the divorce.
But I suggest that you refuse to accept a half empty body or a half empty life. Take one more look at your resolutions. Or better yet, get a new sheet of paper and take stock of your body as it is now and list the disappointing areas that you'd like to change. If your only option was succeeding, would you choose to make the change? A better body leads to a better life.
Mark your calendar.
Time to reinvent yourself.