Getting Unstuck for 2017. Here’s How…

How My Self Esteem and Motivation are Growing With My Lunges

I’m never one to make New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I set little goals for myself, but goal-setting is something I try to remain consistent about throughout the year. This year, however, was different. I’ve been feeling stuck lately in terms of my writing. I haven’t felt inspired and have been severely lacking motivation. This lack of motivation was bleeding into all aspects of my life. I was unhappy, dissatisfied and felt a little lost. I knew I had to make a change. But I discovered that the best way for me to change my sense of self and writing abilities, wasn’t by putting pen to paper, it was through working out.

I’ve always been athletic and enjoyed exercising to some extent. I did gymnastics as a kid and was a cross country runner throughout high school and continue to run today, though not as consistently. Just like my writing, however, I’ve felt stuck in a rut with my workouts, unmotivated and bored. So when my gym was offering a promotion for a personal trainer, I decided to take a risk and go for it. Getting a personal trainer was always something I’ve wanted to do. I just never had the courage, or reason to do it. The promotional deal was just the push I needed to finally try it.

My first workout was a total wakeup call. I did sprints, burpees, squats with weights, a ton of core work in which I threw a giant medicine ball back and forth and a bunch of other things that I never thought I was capable of doing. I was sweaty, smelled awful and was exhausted, but above all else, I felt motivated again. I felt confident in myself and my abilities. I felt like I could push myself further than I had before. I could work harder and I could truly achieve any and every goal I set for myself.

Although I know my workout sessions have just begun, I continue to see and feel this major shift within myself. And, surprisingly, the biggest change hasn’t been in my physical strength, or appearance, though I’m pretty sure yesterday I could make out an outline of a single abdominal muscle in the mirror, it is my mentality, spirit and drive. The fear of writers block has been holding me back, which is something I’m slightly ashamed to admit. It’s been a daily struggle for me to get any form of writing out. Before i began to challenge myself physically, I worried about writing an article, essay or even a journal entry and writing something that I wasn’t proud of, or worse being rejected by others. But when I start my day by bench pressing (80 pounds!) I have faith that I can push myself to write at least 500 words, regardless of the outcome. I’ve learned that it’s more about the journey and less about the end goal.

I’m not advocating for everyone to get a personal trainer. Some people just don’t like exercising and that is totally fine. But I do believe that challenging yourself in some way is so important to your mental and spiritual health. Perhaps challenge yourself by delving into cooking, take a foray into a class or hobby you’ve always wanted to explore. It is only then that are able to stretch, learn, and grow. I know I’ve learned a lot about myself in my workout process. I didn’t know I sweat so much, smelled so bad, or was capable of doing a single pull-up. But, perhaps most importantly, I didn’t know how low my confidence had been until I started taking the necessary steps (and lunges) to build it.

My Top 15 Excuses for Not Going to the Gym Today

I can’t possibly work out today — there are far too many excuses why.

Like many women, I have struggled off and on with my weight for many years. For me personally, I didn’t really have any issues in high school or college, other than the typical gaining of 20 or so pounds done by most college-aged kids.

In my mid-twenties, however, while living in my very first NYC apartment in Brooklyn, I suffered and survived through a terrible sexual trauma. This event led me to gain an enormous amount of weight, over a lot of time. I began using food for comfort, for avoidance, and for a way to shield myself against getting hurt again by men. (“If I’m fat, nobody will touch me. If nobody touches me, nobody can ever hurt me again.” That was the logic.)

Eventually, after many years, I got my weight under control. I wasn’t skinny by any means, but I was no longer dangerously large either. I was on my way. And then, out of nowhere in 2011, my 46 year old healthy and active husband, collapsed one morning, went into cardiac arrest, and died. Once again, in my grief, my weight went up and I started eating out of loneliness, pain, and boredom.

The past couple of years, I have finally started to do better. I walk most mornings, love to swim, and try to live a mostly healthy lifestyle. But it’s a daily battle. One thing that helps , for me, is having a sense of humor about life. About the things we all struggle with.

Often times, I will be all set to go and work out, and then I will somehow talk myself out of it. Motivation is so hard, and I’m sure it is something that most of us have a tough time with. I thought it might be fun to share a humorous list of ridiculous reasons I have actually used or at least thought to myself, of why I can’t possibly go work out today.

valentine's day alone workout

Maybe you have used some of these yourself. If you havent, you are welcome to borrow a few.

 Here are my Top 15 Excuses Why I can’t possibly Go to the Gym and Exercise Today:

  1. I can’t go because I can’t find my gym pants.
  2. I can’t go because I found my gym pants, but they have hair on them.
  3. Where are my sneakers? Oh, I’ll never locate them in this mansion of an Apartment! Forget it. I’m not going.
  4. (To my mom, who I share a car with right now) Well, you need the car in 4 hours, right? Yeah. I’ll never make it back in time. Better not chance it.
  5. I think the pool at the gym is closed today. They are working on repairs or something for it. (I have actually said this one out loud more than once, and it’s usually a lie. Once in awhile it’s true, but usually, it’s a total fabrication. )
  6. Where the hell are those gym pants?
  7. (This one has to be said in a panicky voice) It’s already 5pm. By the time I eat dinner, change into gym clothes, get the gym bag all packed up and ready, yadda yadda yadda, it’ll be August! They close at 10pm. I HAVE NO TIME!!!
  8. I JUST went to the gym five days ago! Who am I, Jillian Michaels???
  9. I can’t remember my locker combination.
  10. It’s the weekend. It’s going to be SO PACKED!!! Screw it.
  11. We don’t have any clean towels! Looks like Im staying home!
  12. My bathing suit is still wet from the last time I went.
  13. There’s not enough gas in the car. I’ll never make it there.
  14. It’s too hot / cold / rainy / snowy outside. Who wants to be out in this weather?
  15. It’s beautiful outside. Who wants to be stuck inside a gym in this great weather?

As you can see, ANYTHING can be used as an excuse not to get healthier, even reasons as ridiculous as the ones in this list.

If we try and create a mindset for ourselves that exercise is just another part of staying healthy and well, like brushing your teeth, good hygiene, or a balanced diet, it might become ingrained in us, and therefore easier to actually get out there and do it. I always feel better when I’m healthier. It’s just making myself get up and actually do it – that is where the challenge has always been.

So here’s a new challenge, for myself, and for everyone reading this. Each day, try and do at least one thing with the specific intention of living a healthy lifestyle. Just one thing. Start writing down your one thing, and then expand to two, and so on.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear about your “one thing!” What one thing will you do differently tomorrow? Let’s start this new list together. #OneThing

Read more stories like this such as: How Burlesque Let Me Claim My Body ImageWHY Do You Weigh Yourself?, or Truly Sexy People Do These 4 Things.