There are a few hashtags I use consistently on social media. One of them, my absolute favorite and probably most used, is #bebetter.
I truly feel that no matter where we are in life, we should be striving to be better, no matter if we’re 16, 96 or somewhere in between. But you have to understand what this means. You have to understand that just because we’re always striving to be better, that every aspect of our lives will move in a linear fashion. Your “better” at different points of your life will vary, but that doesn’t mean that progress isn’t being made. Just because you don’t get from Point A to Point B with a perfectly straight line, doesn’t mean that there isn’t value to each and every one of those ups and downs.
I think that one reason that people get so frustrated with their fitness routines and lose motivation is that they focus too much on their idea of “perfect”, and lose sight of the small things along the way that get us there (sometimes very slowly). I wrote a post a little while ago about my ups and downs with deadlifting over the past couple of years, but that it had led to a new max lift just a short time ago. There were so many “down” times during those past two years, I think it would have been easy, and almost understandable, to just give up.
But then, a couple of weeks before my new PR, I pulled a lift that wasn’t my best by far, but was my best at that moment. And I realized just how important that moment was. If we only celebrate the times in our lives when we reach new highs, we might miss out on some important moments along the way. It is so worth it to stop and acknowledge what may have set you back, realize what you’ve done to overcome that obstacle, and celebrate that small victory, even if to everyone else you’re no better off than you were before.
Positivity feeds off of itself, and I think that so often we wait for the big changes and miss out on the small ones that are right in front of our face. And I have a hunch that this may be a big part of why so many people lose motivation to work out a couple of months into the new year. They don’t see huge results right away, the scale isn’t budging despite their best efforts, and maybe they feel like they’re doing all of that hard work for nothing. This is why it’s important to stop and recognize the small things, because most things in life are small. To see effects from training and a healthy lifestyle takes months, years of commitment to that lifestyle. If you are waiting to see grand changes and don’t take the time to spot the little ones along the way, it’s incredibly easy to just give up and say that it’s not worth it.
Maybe your running pace hasn’t improved but you might notice that when you walk up the 3 flights of stairs to your apartment, you’re breathing a little less heavy. That is an improvement worth acknowledging. Maybe you can’t give up your Oreo’s completely, but you’ve gotten pretty good at only eating a couple instead of a whole sleeve. That is an improvement worth acknowledging. The big changes and big steps don’t often come on their own and they rarely just “show up” one day out of the blue. The big changes you see in your health and fitness will be the result of many tiny building blocks, some so small you won’t even notice happening.
You used to dread going to the gym and now you are able to get out of bed early most days without grumbling too much? Success. You used to take the escalator at every chance and now the stairs are your #1 option? Success. You used to drink 3 sodas a day and now you’re down to 1? Success.
Don’t worry about being your absolute best all the time- that’s overwhelming. Be your best right now, and acknowledge what that means to you. Make one small change today, continue on your path, and each step will lead you to your bigger goals, even when you inevitably take a few steps backward. Focus on you, focus on now, and the rest will fall into place.
Not feeling your best right now because you indulged a little last weekend? Forget it. What can you do to be your best right now, in this moment?