What do all of those have in common? Well, besides all being things I have said at least once in the last two years, they are all . . . drumroll please. . . excuses. Plain and simple. Excuses; for why you shouldn’t do something. What kind of something? Most likely something that is good for you, but requires effort, and more than you perceive yourself as “having” right now.
The keyword in that statement, however, is “perceive.” As in point of view. As in not lasting. As in changeable. As in . . . not permanent.
You picking up what I’m throwing down here? It’s the perception of your strength that determines your effort. Your conscious choice in determining your energy and commitment. Your reaction to a challenge.
Yep. It’s a choice. And you get to make it, all day, every day. There’s that Accountability Act again. Shit.
Twice last week I did something even when I realllllyyyyy didn’t want to, and both times it turned out great. Like, super great. I went in heavy and left light. I started tired and left on top of the world. I FIXED it.
This is serious progress people. This is the “now that” reward that the Universe is throwing my way. Work hard, win big. Like my post from earlier this week illustrated, you get what you put into it.
There is something incredibly powerful about pushing through your pain, past your self imposed limitations and not quitting even when it gets hard. Turns out, on the other side of the shaking is something good. Something amazing. Growth. Strength. Peace. Happiness. Zen. Ommmmmm.
My yoga instructors often remind the class (usually a good 60 seconds into chair pose, as it happens), that :
“Your brain quits way before your body does.”
They are SO right. Our bodies will cooperate. They are much stronger than we think they are. Again, another keyword- “think.”
If you think you’re strong, you are. If you believe you can hold the pose, you can. It is our mind that controls the body and our breath that calms the mind. Control your breath, control your mind. Control your mind and your potential is unlimited. Total World Domination baby.
What happens when you get uncomfortable? Do you quit? Why? When? Who really decided it was time to quit- your legs, or your brain?
So what if your thighs are burning. Feel the fire. So your abs are shaking? Yes, and . . .? Deal with it. Breathe. Hold it. Focus. I promise you, on the other side is bliss. Barring legitimate injury, there’s nothing stopping you, but you. Listen to your body, but with conviction and authenticity.
Decide- do you want to stop because it’s hard, or do you want to stop because you’ve given 100%? That distinction is tremendous. When you think you’ve gone as far as you can go, see what happens if you go a little bit farther. These are the boundaries worth pushing.
Ready to get started? Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. When you are sore you have an abundance of lactic acid built up and it makes you feel sluggish and weak. The solution is to get moving and break it up. Use a foam roller, a mobility ball, or a perspective changer (also known as an inversion pose) and push past it. For me this usually requires about 10 minutes or so of work, so somewhere in mile two, near the end of my warm-up or just after the vinyasa portion of yoga begins. This means that as long as I stay committed to those first ten minutes, the rest will take care of itself. Do not let being tired stop you from forward motion. Move as slowly as you’d like, but move.
2. When you feel discomfort, such as a muscle cramp or tightness, become an observer. Don’t fight it. Don’t resist it or ignore it. Simply notice it. Where does it hurt? What kinds of sensation do you feel? Notice and acknowledge them, then let them go. Breathe in energy, send it there, and keep moving forward. Sidenote- sincere pain, such as that that physically limits your ability to move or puts you at risk of injury is no joke. Be respectful of that and stop before it becomes debilitating.
3. Although it seems counterintuitive, expending energy produces energy. Same philosophy as with money- sometimes you spend it to make it. Likewise with energy, you can “fake it ‘till you make it.” As I pointed out above, you will probably feel tired for about ten minutes, but as the blood starts to move through your body your energy levels will spike, your level of alertness will increase, your mobility will improve and your overall experience will be enhanced.
4. Think less about how far or how much you have left, but instead on how far you have come. Draw your strength from what you have already accomplished, and not on what remains. Set yourself up for success, be your own cheerleader. Personally, I’m a “counter” in most exercise settings. I count my breaths, my reps or my miles completed, and not the ones left to be done. This small practice affords me some peace of mind, some comfort, and also, some small intrinsic reward.
5. Speaking of mindset- visualize to materialize. See yourself at the end. Bring forward memories of the peace you feel at completion in the past and the light at the end of the tunnel that you know is just ahead. Remember how amazing your body is going to feel, and begin to feel it. The colloquially referenced and coveted “Runners High” is not a myth; our bodies really are flooded with endorphins as a result of exercise. Remember that, leverage your resources, and work for it. In the end, it’s all going to be worth it.
So, to get a little old school on ya’ :
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“Yes you can, yes you will, yes you did.”