I was contemplating the other day about how far I’ve come in my personal health journey. It hasn’t even officially been a year since I started strength training, yet I have had remarkable changes in the last 10 months. Not really knowing where to begin or how things would turn out, I began the race towards a healthier lifestyle. This made me think of the ever popular story of “The Tortoise & The Hare”.
If you’re not familiar with the story here’s a quick recap: The Hare constantly and obnoxiously bragged about his speed so the Tortoise challenges him to a race. At the beginning of the race the Hare of course is in the lead and laughs at the Tortoise’s slow pace. Eventually the Hare gets tired and decides to rest believing that there is time to spare, so he falls asleep. The Tortoise continues the race, slow and steady and eventually crosses the finish line to win the race. The Tortoise reminds the hare that despite his bragging about his pace, that slow and steady won the race.
**DING DING DING DING!**
As I reflected on this story, I automatically connected with the process of building a healthy lifestyle. Note, I said Process. Sometimes we believe that going at super speed is the only way to get the best results. Everyone wants it quickly. Everyone wants it fast. Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants a flat stomach, rock hard abs and a big booty in 30 days. But the majority of people get easily burned out, overwhelmed or think that they’re so far ahead that there is no reason to keep going, just like the Hare. So they stop and take a nap and forget about the race. This is where the lesson of the tortoise comes in.
If you learn to keep moving forward regardless of who is in front of you and who is behind you, you can win and finish the race, YOUR race. Whether the race is to get stronger, eat healthier, lose 10 pounds, cut out soda, whatever YOUR race is you choose whether you stop or continue. When we have goals, especially when it comes to our health, sometimes the race seems long and the goal never seems achievable. You may think you are not going anywhere and you’re not as fast as the other hares or tortoises of the world. However if you remember that speed doesn’t necessarily mean winning, then you understand that changing your health is a process! You must give yourself time to figure out what works, what doesn’t work and what feels good to your body. Don’t dive all in and expect to be transformed overnight. If you realize this, then there is no doubt that a positive result can happen at the end of it all.
STOP LOOKING AT OTHER COMPETITORS IN THE RACE!
And boy do I have to remind myself of this one often!!
Everyone is working on a health goal that is personally their own. Some people may even be so obsessed with their goal that it actually makes it an UN-healthy one (but that’s for another post). Working on your health should be enjoyable for YOU. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. You shouldn’t punish yourself or beat yourself up. It’s a race and the word ‘race’ doesn’t automatically mean competition. The reason I truly want people to understand this is because sometimes your actual goal is lost when you make it a competition with everyone else. If you’re working on you, WORK FOR YOU. Do not allow the Hares of the world to ridicule or mock or show off and knock you off your game. It’s your game baby, all four quarters (I love basketball ☺️). You play how you want to play and you win when you say you win.
Personally I constantly remind myself that this race of life we are living is actually a marathon. And hopefully a really really really long marathon (I’m personally aiming for 101 years 😏). I will always have goals that I want to achieve and they will always be taken to the next level. They will not come easy. But any small step that you or I take in that direction is a step forward no matter the pace. And this applies to ALL areas of your life.
So, I want to give you a challenge especially if you’re finding it difficult to start. I want you to choose a date to begin this challenge and stick to it!! No backing out!
- First, I want you to make a choice to change ONE (just one I promise) thing that would improve your health for the week. For example, if you don’t eat breakfast in the morning, start preparing a small meal that is easy, have a bowl of cereal or eat a breakfast bar. If you go to sleep at midnight try to go to bed one or two hours earlier. If you don’t complete any exercise at all, walk 15 minutes every day for a week. If you never eat any fruit, add at least one serving of fruit to your daily meal(s). Have a week with no meat! Whatever your choice is, stick to it and if you happen to fall off, try again!!
- Second, each day that you complete your healthy task of choice, congratulate yourself on a job well done! No matter how big or small the choice. It’s up to you. Celebrate your wins. It’s time we stop measuring our success with someone else’s ruler. Clap it up for yourself! Cheers yourself! Put a smiley face on your calendar! Whatever it is just be sure to acknowledge it.
Small and moderate changes are the best way to slowly incorporate healthy habits in your life. Healthy habits lead to healthy consistencies. You don’t have to change everything drastically or all at once. Do not be the Hare in your own race. It’s okay the be the Tortoise because the victory, I promise you, is just as sweet. **whispers** And may be even a little better 😉.
I would love to hear from you all. Leave a comment below and tell me the ONE thing you will commit to changing to improve your health for this challenge.
Be Healthy, Coach T