How do you want to be in the future? What does a compelling tomorrow look like to you? What do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? Where do you see yourself going?
What about decisions? Decisions guide behaviors. Better decisions precede better behaviors. Most of us make the best decisions we can at the time. And yet some of us refuse to make a decision. Ironically, refusing to make a decision is actually making a decision. You’re sticking with the status quo in this case. This happens naturally when we don’t know what to do.
Often our choices are not in congruence with who we want to become. We see this all the time with food. We have such difficulty with food! We have such difficulty with food because we easily play the victim with it. We blame fast food companies. We blame advertisers. We blame Walmart. We blame KFC. We blame McDonalds. When everybody knows 95% of what these restaurants serve isn’t good for you. We struggle with taking responsibility for our food choices to guide our behavior. Is it too hard to cut-out food that is bad for you in favor of what’s right and in congruence with what we want to become?
Where do we want to be tomorrow with our physical health? What actions today make us congruent with what we desire for tomorrow? Movement, while as basic as it gets, is essential to all four human quadrants. One of the worst curses any of us can endure is to be stationary, forever enduring non-movement. (“May you forever stay in one place!”) Physical health is everything. Without it, our mental and spiritual health are negatively affected. As important as it is, you’d think we’d prioritize the physical. And you’d be wrong.
You never regret going to the gym. Even a light work-out is better than no workout. Simply starting with 15 minutes a day gets you on the right track. The key is consistency. Keep at it. How do you want to look tomorrow? How do you want to feel tomorrow? Working out in the gym for even those brief minutes will get you to where you want to be. Be concentrated in your efforts and get after it.
Paraphrasing Mr. Max, how kind are you to the future you? We spend so much time in self-loathing for past poor decisions. This is useless, even ridiculous behavior. We’ve all made past poor decisions. Let’s get over them and focus on what we can do now, today, to improve. Be kind to yourself today. That probably sounds weird. (It is weird to write.) We don’t need any more help beating ourselves up. We’re already good at that. How about kindness to self? How about celebrating the small wins and disciplines, like not feeling the gym but going anyway? Like not feeling like going outside to walk — Yes, simply Walk outside — and going anyway.
Like not feeling like ordering the Cobb salad with dressing on the side instead of the cheeseburger and fries, but ordering it anyway. These ignite the small wins, the tiny, daily, disciplined decisions that make us who we want to be tomorrow. These choices comprise kindness, some might say, compassion, for the future you. You’re taking care of the future you right now. Good job! The 65 year-old version of yourself will thank you for doing the daily work it takes to be kind to oneself.
See how hard we are on ourselves? Typically, the higher the performer, the harder one is on oneself. We have high expectations for performances, whether mental, physical, or financial. If we don’t meet these expectations — even unrealistic ones — we get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up. We employ negative self-talk. We self-deprecate. We self-loathe. None of this is good or healthy for what we want: positive contribution and performance. Kicking your own ass won’t make you better next time. Focus, disciplined practice and positive self-talk will.
How fun to be around are people who constantly beat themselves up? Their negative energy brings everyone around them down. Don’t do this. Why be like that? Isn’t it better to be radiating positive human emotions, even when we think we’ve failed or haven’t done a good enough job? How do you take on struggle? Say, a health issue? When one hits — and they will hit — how do you take them? With positivity and regard for your health to get better? As a personal challenge to your will? Or, do you turn into an automatic downer? Health issues are difficult. As stated earlier, health is everything. Many people cannot keep their attitudes up in the face of health challenges. It’s just too hard for them. Gauging our attitude doesn’t mean much when all is roses and everything is going our way. The true gauge is when we’re down, struggling, and then what is our demeanor?
When we get into a rut, we tend to forget what made us successful in the first place: regular, disciplined practice and focusing on the fundamentals. Whenever a baseball player hits a poor streak of performance, the solution is always a re-focusing and doubling-down on the fundamentals. We get too close to the game, too close to our work, to see the problem. This is why coaches are so valuable for us. They see things in our performance that we cannot. They watch us swing, provide feedback, even tough feedback if necessary, and correct the actions. This gets us back on track and out of the slump.
You can be in the weight room for months, even years, swearing you’re performing lifts the correct way. You use mirrors. You think you know what you’re doing. Then, one day, you hire a coach to watch your movements and to get feedback. Instantly, the coach corrects your lifts because you’ve been doing something wrong for so long that you didn’t even know it. It was nothing catastrophic, but it needed correcting. And with the corrections come improvement in your lifts. You might not have gotten there without a coach to re-train you on the fundamentals.