I don’t visit the gym. I go there and workout. I’m not angling for 6-pack abs or a 30″ waistline. And my pecs aren’t worthy of flexing.
But that’s not why I go to the gym. At 55 (almost 56) vanity left me long ago! 7 years ago I got real about my fitness. Driven mostly by being there for my family and reducing the risk of being a burden to my wife as grow older…I knew it was high time to take it more seriously.
When I started working out – after years of hardly doing any physical activity – it wasn’t congruent with who I was. I was in the process of changing. Getting real is the start of positive change (aka improvement). It’s important, but it’s just the start.
Daily I walked into the gym knowing I wasn’t faking it, but I knew it was filled with people who were more comfortable being there than I was. I didn’t know my way around the place. Those little illustrations on the machines puzzled me. I hadn’t used any of these machines before. Operating a simple treadmill felt like trying to fly a jet. I was out of my element. Dropped into surroundings that were completely unfamiliar. I felt like the new kid in school unsure where to go, or what to do.
It lasted a few months. Just walking into the gym felt uncomfortable. And I was even more uncomfortable during the workouts. I felt like I was an out-of-shape spectacle. Mentally, it felt like the entire joint was dark and big spot lights were shining on my bald head!
It was just part of the process of getting real with my commitment. I felt like a wannabe for the longest time. Surrounded by guys half my age and 75% less body fat, I felt and looked like a person who’d be more comfortable in a La-Z Boy. I was certain people glanced at me and thought, “Look at that poor fella. He won’t last.”
But I did.
My body had not yet caught up to my mind. I made a decision that my outward appearance hadn’t yet manifested. It would take some time. And a lot of hard work. But it would happen. I knew I’d have to stick with it.
My mind was made up.
That’s the critical part of getting real. Some punk teenager could have approached me and said, “Get real, old man” and I’d have put a choke hold on him before he knew what hit him and said, “I am getting real. This is real.”
Weeks turned to months. A month turned into a year. Then another. And another. Gym managers, trainers and other employees came and went. Customers who I had seen regularly when I started disappeared. Today, I can count on one hand the people I see working out who were there at my start. I’m the tortoise who won the race! All the hares have fallen by the wayside.
What has this taught me?
What we manifest in our lives must first exist in our mind. We’re unlikely to accomplish anything that we’ve yet to achieve in our mind. The longer we can hold it in our mind – fully embracing it in the form of true commitment and unwavering devotion – the more real it gets!
But it never ends.
My fitness began to improve. It kept improving. I dropped some body fat. I lost some inches. My lungs gained increased capacity. My heart got stronger. My energy increased. Mission accomplished. Done?
Nope. Entropy pushes us to stay real. Or regress. I wasn’t about to go back – ever again!
You have to maintain that devotion after you’ve paid the price to get real because it can fade over time. Fitness. Business success. Relationships. Everything in life will fade if you don’t put in the work. And keep putting in the work.
There are likely things in your life waiting for you to address. Fix. Repair. Start. Finish.
Make up your mind. Commit. Follow through. Establish the habit.
Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about what others think or say.