With the New Year upon us millions of people will be making New Year resolutions; Resolutions that this year is going to be different from last year…different from all the previous years before that. This year they are going to stick to their resolution. This year, people are going to make a lasting change. We all know this song and dance and we all know how it will eventually, inevitably end. Once the initial hype is gone, our desire fades and our resolve fails us and we give up on them… until the next New Year to try again. This cycle will go round and round without any true lasting change.
Unfortunately, this is for many of us a mirror image of our fitness journey. I have been in several CrossFit gyms over the past years. I have seen countless people come in who are hyped, excited and ready to change their lives, or at least the way they stay fit. However, before long the passion fades, the desire is gone, and they show up less and less until they eventually never come back. This is because excitement is never enough. Anyone who has been in a relationship more than a few months knows what I am talking about. Once the ‘honeymoon phase’ is over and all you are left with is the person as they are instead of what you may have initially thought, things change. Often times we realize without that initial excitement the relationship we had was empty and the only reason we were with that person was simply because it was new and exciting. A relationship with fitness and a relationship with a person are very similar and anyone who says different hasn’t been doing either of them long enough. When our ‘honeymoon phase’ with one way of fitness is over we breakup and begin a desperate search trying to find that excitement we initially felt eventually leading us to something new. At least until that new thing gets old as it inevitably will and we will move on to the next new thing. This desire for something new will continue leading us in circles chasing our tails until we get tired and stop trying all together.
Excitement and the initial passion simply is not enough. The question is then, what is enough to keep us with it? You need a reason. In fact more than just a reason, you need a driving force that will keep you coming back both in a relationship with a person and with fitness. Trust me if you are around long enough the time will come when the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. This may last for a day a week, or even months. If your only reason to go back is because you want to look good, you are already on the edge of not returning. You need to find something that is going to get you to the gym. Something that is worth the pain we put ourselves through. You need something more than a number to reach, or an idea of how you want to look, more than because you will feel guilty if you don’t go.
The reason or reasons are going to be different for everyone. No one can tell you you’re reason but you. It could be because you want to be the best in this sport. It could be because you are a parent and you want to set an example of a healthy dedicated life for your children. It could be because you want to be the best possible version of yourself. If you are one of our athletes that has had more life experience than most it could be because you have watched your friends slow down, stop moving and slowly deteriorate and you don’t want that to happen to you. It could be because you want to be able to play with your children or grandchildren. It could be because you have been overweight your whole life and you want desperately to be in better shape. It could be because heart disease runs in your family, like it does in mine, and you have lost people close to you because of it. Your reason could be because you suffered from an addiction and knowing you have a group of people who care about you and a place you can channel your energy has kept you away from that life.
These are all reasons people have personally told me as to why they CrossFit. Reasons why they keep coming back on the dark days and make the bright days that much better. So now it’s your turn to be asked the big question. What is your reason?
EDITORS NOTE: John Galloup is a former enlisted Marine Corp. sniper. He has been deployed over seas on multiple occasions. He has earned numerous awards while in the Marines of which he himself would never brag about being a very humble man. He knows a thing or two about success, failure, and performing under very stressful conditions. He is also a CrossFit coach as well as a CrossFit athlete. When he gives advice it is usually a good idea to pay attention. So take 5 minutes and really absorb what he is saying because it will benefit you immensely.
We have all had our fair share of moments in our lives where we tell ourselves we can’t do this. As we approach something new we tend to feel scared and hesitate before we delve into the new chapters of the unknown. Fear and uncertainty creep into the corners of our minds and try to assert their dominance over our endeavors. I would ask us all the question, why do we choose to listen to these emotions, for they come from the weakest parts of our minds? The answer lies in repetition. We have become so adapted to hearing them and giving them our attention that they begin to flow from our mind and out of our mouths as streams of negativity expressed as phrases of self-doubt. Even then, sometimes the worst demons that haunt our minds are the ones unshared or unspoken as they sit and poke fun at our own shortcomings. Interesting how we tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else could be. I would encourage us all to banish these thoughts from our minds, making a conscious effort to avoid the negativity that has leached on to the subconscious.
It has been said that we are products of our environment, and I must admit that I agree with the majority of that statement. Today, it seems we are inescapably surrounded by negativity. Don’t believe me? Take a look at what’s on the news in magazines, radio, Facebook, TV, talk shows, blogs, etc. This doesn’t even include the music we listen to, or the people we surround ourselves with. I think we can all understand, that negativity is all around us right? All this negativity functions to cloud our minds and dull our ability to visualize positivity. It doesn’t have to be way. Negativity will continue to exist as it always has and always will until the end of our days. However, that doesn’t mean we need to expose ourselves to it. Let’s all commit to reducing the degree to which we open our minds and hearts to the “bad news bearers” and the “Debbie downers.” Listen to positive music in the car or to motivational books, don’t watch the news, ignore the Facebook drama. You don’t need to bear the weight of the world’s problems on your shoulders. You have enough you need to focus without exposing yourself to media designed to make you unhappy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, probably one of the most successful men of our lifetime, has a set of golden rules. One of these is “ignore the naysayers.” Well put Arnold, for we control our destiny. We are the reason we win or fail. Sure some people have it harder than others, and life isn’t fair, but I’m here to tell you…You can do it…you can do it…you can do it. Don’t just read over that, but accept what I am telling saying. You CAN do it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise, because they are trying to hold you back. They have given up, and don’t want you to succeed becoming better than they ever would. We need to cut this negativity out of our lives even when sometimes it is hard to do.
When we get rid of the negativity we must replace it with positivity or the negative thoughts will find their way back in. We all need to spend more time with positive people, thoughts and energy. Change our environment and create one that is loving. Isn’t it interesting that people who surround themselves with successful people, tend to become successful themselves? Ever had a training partner who was better than you, and challenged you to new levels of accomplishment? I know I have. Run with the best people you can find and you will become better yourself. Being in the Marines I was surrounded by some of the best and most motivated people out there and they only pushed me to be better.
As you begin to clear your mind and surroundings of all the unnecessary negativity and replace it with the positive a new sense of clarity will take place. Instead of a haze of doubt you will be able to visualize success and focus your mind on a positive outcome; completing the lift, getting the job, making the sale. You’ll be able to visualize the lift from start to finish and see yourself standing proud at the top with new records achieved. Use positive visualization in all aspects of your life. You will become what you think you can become. You will achieve what you see yourself accomplishing. Will it always happen right away? Maybe…maybe not. I will not be the one to say that you can or cannot, that is your decision. If you fail, then laugh it off and get back up and try again. “Don’t be afraid to fail” another golden rule from Arnold. Failure is something everyone endures, but failure doesn’t mean it’s over…It simply means we are narrowing our search for the path to success. A great book that I know of has a quote in it that I would like to share, “I truly tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Words from Jesus…the One who never failed.