All my life I’ve mildly participated in sports. Basically while I had the body structure and potential to be pretty decent at sports, my attitude and enthusiasm (or lack there of) were major roadblocks. I was often, as painful as it is for me to admit, embarrassingly bad at any sports I did participate in. Frankly, my heart was not in it. I always thought of working out as a means to lose weight, and without fast results I would lose steam and stop trying. Even throughout college, when societies attitude towards sports changes from a popularity contest to more of a self-maintenance mechanism, there was a distinct difference between people that were continuously active and myself. There were the sporty women, those who ran on a regular basis without any ultimate physical goal. There were even those who worked out or participated in club sports with an actual goal in mind, wanting to run a marathon or some thing along those lines.
I’ve spent my life making grand physical goals. “This year I’m going to train to run a marathon!” or “That six pack will be mine!” What all of these goal have really been about has been this. “I want to lose weight and look perfect.” Sadly, I’ve realized lately how much of my time is spent thinking about this goal. Even now, having gotten into decent shape over the last year and dropped some of the extra pounds, I find myself unsatisfied. I find that my thoughts are even harsher, and I am becoming more critical. It’s almost as though, now that I’m closer to the goal, I feel as though I’ve failed. Logically I know that this feeling of failure is arbitrary. Since I never put a time limit on my goal, and never really decided what my goal was to begin with, failure is impossible since success was never defined. Yet I’m still hypersensitive to this ambiguous goal. This hypersensitivity makes me upset and further kills my motivation to continue working on my fitness. Why bother going to work out when I’m just going to continue to feel bad regardless of the results.
Since 2015 is the year of facing the “beast of fear” for me, I decided to think through this problem logically. Essentially, there had to be something about those women in college (and even now) that drives them to continue on their fitness goals where I quit. I think that the difference is not blind enthusiasm for physical pain, but rather, a funny little thing I like to call “the instant feel good release.” There is nothing like working out to release this sense of euphoria that makes one perky and happy. Those happy faced runners aren’t crazy; working out does physically release hormones that put you in a better mood. This feeling however cannot be the only difference. The difference I believe lies in what the person’s motivation is. If I change my perspective from the original “I work out and kill my body in order to lose weight that I secretly think that I’ll never be able to lose” to the completely different thought of “I want to work out so that I can feel that sense of happiness that comes as result” suddenly my motivation level to work out sky rockets. The outcome of the workout doesn’t matter in the sense of its physical effects and this attitude seems to be more lasting. Ironically this new thought process will probably lead to even greater weight loss then any targeted weight loss thoughts would have. So with that, I will stop calling the gym my “torture chamber” and rather “my happy bouncy castle” and hopefully gain a happier, more lasting respect for physical activity.