By Jennifer Miramontes
Now that the time of resolutions has passed, and many of us have broken them, let’s start thinking about life changes for 2013. I’ve never really been big on resolutions, and there is a good reason for that. Did you know that only 12 percent are successful? I have a theory on why we don’t follow through with the resolutions — we don’t believe in ourselves.
Very few people realize how capable they are. We can do so much more than our mind allows us to. Yup, hate to break it to you, but it’s your brain that gets in the way. It’s not the amount of time you have; it’s not the amount of money you have, and it’s not your lack of ability. It’s not because you’re too fat, too thin, too broken, or busy. It’s very simple. We are afraid to commit, and we are afraid to admit. To commit to something new can be scary, and to admit that we can do this can be even harder. I will now challenge you to toss (if you haven’t already) your resolutions aside and consider the following life changes:
* Do something that scares you! Don’t be afraid to be scared. Fear can be our biggest enemy or greatest ally. Use fear to motivate you. It can be as simple as taking a yoga class, or as daunting as committing to climb Mount Everest. It’s yours to own. So don’t let fear distract you, let it inspire you. But here’s the deal — when you’ve committed, when you’ve admitted that you can do it, you must follow through. Do not let your brain get in the way of your body’s capabilities. Give it a shot. Right when your brain says you can’t, you will most likely discover that your body can.
* Train like a professional athlete; exercise more. No one has ever regretted a great workout. In fact, it’s rare that anyone regrets a workout, period. So go for it. Train hard. Don’t hold back. There’s something that happens when you try something new. I can’t begin to tell you how often I have clients look at me as though I’m insane when I challenge them to do a box jump or a 180-degree medi ball slam. But when they accomplish it, the elation they feel is palpable.
You might not be able to put in the hours that a professional athlete can, but you can probably do more than you are doing. In fact, most Americans don’t even come close to the CDC recommended hours (2.5 per week, with 2 hours of strength training). But let’s find a happy medium, or better yet, let’s just think realistically. Add 60 minutes of exercise per week. Before you decide that there is no way you have the time, stop and realize it’s less than 10 minutes per day, or the addition of one workout. Unsure? Try it for one month. I will bet you have the time. Admit that you CAN and commit.
* “Do or do not. There is no try” — Yoda. OK, it’s an overused quote, but it remains one of my favorites. In my opinion, “I’ll try” allows you to make excuses. In fact, we don’t allow “I’ll try” to happen at FIT House. Commit. This one actually applies to everyday life as well as your fitness life. Maybe you have been talking about a trip to Paris for years. Decide if this is something you want to do or do not want to do and base your decision on the answer. Yes, you want to go? Go! Trust me, you can figure out a way. Taking this back to fitness, make a decision to run/walk a mile (or more) and go.
* People who know me well will say that I’m hypocritical, in this next one. But here goes … Sometimes good is good enough. Don’t let “perfectionism” get in the way of your goals. So often I hear, “I am thinking of going to FIT House, but I need to get in shape first.” I know it sounds ridiculous, but I do understand where they are coming from. Our fear of failure often holds us back. We don’t want to look weak or worse yet be vulnerable, so we avoid. Remember, most people feel this way, so if it is a new class you are trying, know that most of the people around you are worried about themselves more than you. And remember, when you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
* Don’t be old! I find the phrase “I’m getting old” very disappointing. First of all, you’re stating the obvious. Unless you are Benjamin Button, we are all getting older. Second, it’s an excuse. I have a 78-year-old client who can hold an 8-minute plank. I have an 83-year-client with Parkinson’s disease who powers through an hour workout three times a week. This man is doing push-ups, crunches, lunges, fast feet and the list goes on.
He has never used his age or his (very serious) disease as an excuse. Age does not need to be a factor in being healthy. Go into battle. I understand that you can’t do what you were capable of when you were 20, but be willing to do what you are capable of at your age. Which I guarantee is more than you think!
I’ll leave you with this: There is no better feeling than thinking you can’t and then discovering you can.
— Jennifer Miramontes is a certified master personal trainer and medical exercise specialist, and the co-owner of FIT House in Davis.