Getting In Shape

Looking to get into better shape in 2020?  You’re not alone, of course. The end of the year (and a decade!) tends to bring with it reflection and the resolve to start something new by or on January 1st.

Because we’re human, we thrive on stories–particularly ones we can situate ourselves within.  A new workout routine is going to be the beginning of the movie.  The one where we get into better shape, or maybe even the best shape of our lives.

And because every good movie needs a villain standing in its hero’s way, we prick up our ears and dig into ourselves.  Why aren’t we in the shape we want to be right now?  What’s standing in our way?

Social media gives us a convenient answer: we’re not trying hard enough.  We’re not committed enough.  Maybe we’re lazy.  Maybe we just need to buckle down.  Maybe if we just decide to work hard for once in our lives, things will finally change.

This is the message we get.  We hear it.  We see it.  We internalize it.

The thing is: I don’t think many of us lack for effort.  I don’t think that’s the big problem at all.  It’s what we’re told but I don’t think it’s true.

I think most of us have actually tried a ton of different things, have worked hard in a lot of different ways, and have never hesitated to put ourselves on the line in pursuit of our dreams and goals.  And I think when we beat ourselves up for not working hard enough–when we buy into that story–we’re setting ourselves up to feel like crap.

We already know HOW to try hard.  Most of us do it all of the time in or out of the gym.

So maybe the problem isn’t how.  Maybe it’s just a matter of choice.  So much choice.

Maybe the problem is WHAT to do.  There are literally hundreds of branded workout routines to choose from, and thousands of capillary variations.  Almost every one tells you that it is the way.  It can be paralyzing.  Too much choice for thinking people usually is.

So here’s a proposal.  It’s simple, but it works:

1) If you’re looking for a new workout routine, don’t try to find something perfect.  Instead, find one that you love.
2) Once you’re there, make sure you’re doing it safely and with sustainability.  You’ll keep doing it and you will succeed.

For most all of us, there is no one way.

And that, that is usually the way.

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