“People who are interested in doing something will do it when it’s convenient. People who are committed will do it no matter what.”
– Bob Proctor
Why haven’t you reached the yearly fitness goals you’ve set for yourself? Though you can probably think of a few reasons, I want to focus on the one root cause I see most people struggling with. And it’s not laziness.
It’s the difference between being interested in an outcome versus committed to the process.
Are you interested in the outcome or are you committed to the change you’ll need to make? Because something will need to change, whether you like it or not. Your outcomes can’t be achieved solely by your interest in them. Your motivation needs to be strong enough to help you overcome the challenges that will surely pop up. When it comes to fitness, or physical wellness, It’s important to keep this in mind.
When I first started working out, I don’t think the idea of flexibility crossed my mind once. When I was recovering from my first knee injury someone mentioned that I should stretch my quads. The idea was so new to me that I didn’t give it another thought. After a few weeks of limited progress, I thought about the comment more and more and began to research what stretching was and why someone like me should do it. I thought I understood it from a logical perspective, but it seemed to waste a lot of my training time laying around, doing nothing, so I didn’t really pick it up as a practice. So instead I found knee sleeves and other tools I could use to help me feel better and get back out on the pitch to play.
If you’re like me, you’ve been preconditioned to believe that the latest shoe, app, or gear is what you’ve been missing that will get you over the “getting started” or “just barely hanging on” hump. You might also be frustrated with the results you achieved, or with the resilience of those results to withstand the dynamic situations you’re faced with in life.
I personally became accustomed to feeling good and moving well while practicing and playing (thanks to the help of knee sleeves and IcyHot), but being pretty incapacitated when going about my everyday life outside of performing.
To find the answer, you’ve first got to ask a different question. What matters to you? What makes you smile when you’re scrolling? What makes you scowl? Use your values to connect the dots between different areas of your life. From intellectual to social leanings, and physical to spiritual, your values provide a picture into what you care about and therefore prioritize.
When training on my own, I rarely found the time to stretch even though I knew intrinsically that I should be doing something to improve my overall range of motion. I was definitely interested in being more flexible, but I wasn’t really sold on the stretching aspect of it. I wanted to get stronger, faster, and be more agile on the pitch, and didn’t see how “stretching” could help any of those aims.
When you’ve figured out what matters to you, you move from merely being interested in having things happen to you, towards being committed to making things happen for you. At that point, you’re more motivated and empowered to figure out what needs to be done to overcome the challenges you’ll face along the road to change. The change you’ll be seeking is a more consilient one – one that makes you feel more whole.
It wasn’t until I was able to connect how flexibility improvements could lead to improvements in my strength, speed, and agility that I was able to commit to incorporating it into my training more consistently.
When you’ve created an attachment that has meaning beyond each individual simple action you do, those newly connected actions make more sense to you, and therefore you resist doing them less, even though they’re new and it’s challenging.
For me, the physical benefits I gained from becoming more flexible were part of a larger goal. I wanted to be a reliable member of my rugby team, which means I needed to be able to provide support around the pitch during games. If I wasn’t strong enough, I couldn’t create the stability we needed in the scrum. If I was too slow, I wouldn’t get to the tackle in time to help protect the ball. If I wasn’t agile enough, I couldn’t react fast enough to an opponent’s change of direction. I’ve always valued reliability – in others and myself. To fulfill my need to be reliable (value) after injury, I realized I needed a different approach than what I had been doing. When I was able to connect flexibility work to my value of reliability and my goals of being strong and more capable to far for myself, my team, and my family when I’m older.
It’s normal to try a new routine or habit around exercise or wellness, and not be able to find the motivation to stick with it. It’s normal to have a hard time getting started even though you KNOW making some changes will improve your health and wellbeing. The first step in helping yourself find that motivation is to figure out what really matters to you, and then connect those values to your fitness goals. You might surprise yourself with what you find.
And that’s what I want for you. To have the ability to connect your “here and now” goals with the longer-term intentions that you have for yourself (whether you’re aware of them or not yet).
When you want to change, you will.